VANCOUVER, BC – It was certainly an eventful Saturday for Brek Shea.
While it may not have been the ideal result Shea wanted on the pitch in Vancouver's 1-1 draw with FC Dallas on Saturday night, Sunday will certainly mark a Father's Day to remember.
Shea and his wife, Carling, celebrated the birth of son Zepplin Brekken at 4:40 p.m. PT on Saturday afternoon. Just over two hours later, Shea was on the pitch at BC Place, starting for Whitecaps FC and playing 83 minutes.
“I was in the hospital all day, and I was just hoping that kid came before I had to leave for the game,” Shea told reporters after the match. “Luckily it came within 30 minutes of when I had to leave and be here. It was a great day to have my first son, second kid. Everyone was healthy and I was happy to be part of the game.
“I wanted to be there and be here at the same time. I'm happy we got a point. We fought hard against a good team. I'm excited for that and I'm excited to go back and be at the hospital again all night.”
Shea missed the 'Caps final training of the week on Friday to be at the hospital with his wife, and it was touch and go as to whether the American international would be able to make it in time to be in Vancouver's gameday squad, never mind the starting XI.
“Brek turned up 20 minutes before the [team] meeting,” Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson revealed. “I didn't know whether he was going to play, so credit to him. Him and his wife, so congratulations on behalf of everyone here to Brek and his wife. You couldn't make this up.”
Despite the uncertainty over both the baby and the player's arrival, Robinson had no hesitation about starting Shea or touting what he means to the team this season.
“Anyone that knows Brek knows that he's very laid back,” Robinson said. “I've heard people say he's different. Well everyone's different. He told me he had a good night's sleep, which probably means that he had 20 minutes sleep.
“He literally texted me an hour before our meeting and said, 'I'm a new dad, I'll be there in half an hour, make sure my name's on the team sheet.’ So that shows character. He wants to play for this club. We want him to play for this club, and I think if he plays like that, we've got a super player.”