Braun's Persistence Paid Off

New Toronto forward nearly quit playing football before landing at Chivas USA in 2008.

Photo: Justin Braun (with Chivas) tangled up by his new teammate Terry Dunfield (Getty)

Justin Braun, Toronto FCs newest forward, owes his professional career to his dad’s advice.

Braun had given up on his aspirations of playing professional soccer four years ago but when he heard of a high-calibre amateur tournament being held at the Home Depot Centre in California, Michael Braun urged his son not to quit.

“My Dad said ‘don’t give up, give it one more chance. He’s the only reason I went.”

Good that he did. Then Chivas USA coach Preki was at the tournament scouting another prospect and he ended up signing Braun.

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Braun would score 24 goals in 96 Chivas games before a trio of trades this season that  saw him go from California to Montreal, to Real Salt Lake and then finally to TFC in a deal that sent Aaron Maund to Utah. Despite his track record for scoring goals, Braun went goalless in 14 games with Montreal and Real Salt Lake this season.

Mike Ulmer asked the 25-year-old about diving, peanut butter and what figures from history he would most like to have dinner with.  

Mike Ulmer: What element of your personality do you dislike the most?
Justin Braun: I’m too quiet. It’s weird, my Mom and Dad aren’t quiet. Neither are my siblings. I guess I’m the best listener in the family.

MU: If you weren’t a soccer player what would you be?
JB: Well, the lifestyle of a pro athlete is pretty tough to beat. I’d say a basketball player.

MU: What person do you admire the most?
JB: I’d say my Dad. He didn’t have much in the beginning but he kept working and working. He started out with a degree in wildlife biology and now he owns a clinical trials company. He was a great friend growing up but when I would flip out over something he would bring me back down to earth pretty fast.

MU: How often have you dived to get a call?
JB: I don’t do that. I hate it when players do that.

MU: If you could have dinner with any group of people, alive or dead, who would you choose?
JB: I grew up in Utah so I would definitely say (Utah Jazz star) Karl Malone. I think it would be great to have Abraham Lincoln there. My parents are originally from Buffalo so I would put (running back) Thurman Thomas in there as well.

MU: Smooth or crunchy?
JG: Smooth or creamy, whatever you call it. I don’t like the texture of crunchy.

MU: Betty or Veronica?
JG: I don’t’ know who they are.

MU: If Iron Man, Superman and Batman are fighting each other who wins.
JG: Iron Man. He’s got the armour. I’ve never seen him lose a fight.

MU: What spot you haven’t visited would you most like to see.
JG: Spain.