He had just arrived in Montreal and was about to take in an indoor soccer match, when his position coach pointed out a young goalkeeper he's seeing for the first time.
"Hey, see that guy out there? That's my baby," said then-Impact goalkeeper coach Youssef Dahha to Evan Bush as they got settled to watch a 16-year old Maxime Crepeau.
A decade later, the goalkeeper union, along with head coach Marc Dos Santos, is reunited in Vancouver, and it's that long-standing relationship that brought them back together on the West coast.
"That was certainly a big part of why I was open to even carrying out the discussion (about the trade). For me, I've always had a great level of respect for Marc, Marc was my first coach in Montreal, he was the one that gave me the opportunity initially. I’ve had great admiration for him," says Bush, who was acquired via trade earlier this week. "The first person I met in Montreal that year was actually Youssef. I've had an unbelievable relationship with him for many, many years. And some of my best years as a pro were under him."
💬 @ebushel1 "If it wasn’t for Marc and Youssef and my pre-existing relationship with those guys, it would be have been much easier for me to stand pat. But I have so much respect for those guys and I was excited to be able to reunite with them for sure." #VWFC pic.twitter.com/n36Chl490Y— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) September 29, 2020
When the 'Caps learned that goalkeeper Thomas Hasal would be joining Crepeau in the sidelines for the foreseeable future as both dealt with injuries, Dos Santos and Dahha felt they needed to bring in another option along with Bryan Meredith and young prospect Isaac Boehmer. They knew who exactly to call.
"It was pretty quick," says Bush about the process. "I was presented with the opportunity on Friday night, from our general manager, that Vancouver had expressed interest and then Marc and Youssef were hoping to speak with me that night."
The ninth-year MLS veteran quickly felt excited about the idea of playing under Dos Santos and Dahha's tutelage, where he already had the comfort level and previous success.
"Both of them have played important roles (in my career)," shares Bush. "I think an important part of not only goalkeeping but any position on the field is having that positive and enjoyable work environment. I have so much respect for those guys that I had to hear them out and listen to them. And I was excited to be able to reunite with them."
About Crepeau, Bush says he's maintained a strong bond with the keeper who showed promise in Montreal then, and has blossomed into among the league's best since arriving in Vancouver.
"I love Max. He's like a younger brother to me," says Bush. "I got on the phone with him before any of the news became official about me coming here to tell him what was going on. And I got coffee with him two weeks ago in Vancouver when we were there. I'm looking forward to sharing that training space with him once he's healthy again."
Reunited @ebushel1 😃💪🏼!— Maxime Crepeau (@MaxCrepeau) September 28, 2020
Bush is anxious to contribute but he knows that he needs to show his quality at training first. Having arrived in Portland on Monday, he expects to be available for selection for Saturday's match at CenturyLink Field versus Seattle Sounders FC
"I certainly need to show that I'm ready to play games. I flew out here on a charter flight to avoid the extended quarantine. My understanding is for as long as I have the the two negative COVID tests and three days of quarantine that I'll be available on the weekend," says Bush.
"We are trying to get this team into the playoffs. I'm fully invested with what's going on here and trying to make myself as home as possible in Portland, Vancouver, wherever you want to call it right now. The energy and the mentality and the mindset are focused on right now."
The 'Caps and the Sounders renew their rivalry on Saturday at 7 p.m. live on TSN1/4 and TSN Radio 1040.