Brek Shea and Geoff Cameron announced the end of their professional careers at the beginning of May, but soccer is still part of their lives and will continue to be. In fact, both will be playing for Blade & Grass FC, one of the 32 teams at TST, the fascinating 7v7 soccer tournament that kicks off the summer.
TST begins on June 1 and has a prize of $1 million. Several teams from Europe, like Borussia Dortmund, West Ham United, Wolverhampton and Wrexham, are sending squads to the event, while a good bunch of players, former players and athletes from other sports are set to compete in Cary, North Carolina.
The Soccer Tournament (TST)Cary, NC pic.twitter.com/ySZ93LwwNC
— TST (@TST7v7) May 30, 2023
Shea and Cameron knew about the tournament a few months ago and soon, it picked up their interest, first through former USMNT teammate Clint Dempsey, one of the minds behind TST, and then after a request from Stephen Ireland, a former teammate in Stoke City.
How did you get involved with TST?
Cameron: We were both still training to probably play another season professionally, we were asked by a number of teams and... you know Clint (Dempsey) who is a really good friend of ours came and asked what we were doing. Weeks later, Stephen Ireland, a former teammate of ours in Stoke told us dude, I'm putting a team in. Do you want to be part of it? Then I was like Brek, are we doing it?
Shea: Yes! I know it's going to be a fun tournament. They've been doing this on basketball (TBT) and I've been watching it on TV and it always has been fun. It's going to be very competitive and we will play against a bunch of people we know.
I bet you expect to win that million bucks.
Cameron: Yes, we want to win a million bucks. We are winners, and we are competitive. That's for sure. But also, there is more: being with our old teammates, coming together. Now we are having a meeting to talk tactics-wise and strategies. We are trying to learn the rules of substitutions and the clever ways you can take advantage of those rules in place. We will watch the first game and get a gist of what other teams are doing.
Shea: It's going to be a big learning curve, a lot of rules that are not in a normal game, trying to figure out at the beginning, but obviously trying to win each game and then have fun at the same time.
The connection between Shea and Cameron, of course, goes deeper than playing a 7v7 soccer tournament. And goes even deeper than announcing their professional retirement the same day.
Congrats to Geoff Cameron and Brek Shea on their respective careersBoth players announced their retirement today. pic.twitter.com/9Gbg8IXH7j
— U.S. Men's National Soccer Team (@USMNT) May 4, 2023
Cameron, in fact, tells the ways their careers have been entwined.
"We started our careers at the same time. Brek was in Dallas, I was in Houston, the same draft year. He was the biggest star, the main man. Everybody knew him," Cameron said. "But then we were playing each other, marking each other and we were always having small conversations on the field, 'What's up man'? And it started from there."
"Then you go to your first national team camp, you are with him, know him more and fast forward, we are together in England in Stoke. He had a house down the street and then suddenly, he is living in my house. A lot of great memories."
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When it was time to call it a day and retire, Shea and Cameron were again together. "I got a place in South Florida and he has one there, too. And one day, training in the off-season, I told him 'I'm done, are you done?' Let's do this, and now we are working on something very special."
"We crossed paths many times, obviously national team, being in England. I basically lived in Geoff's house when I was over there. And now, retirement together and going together on this adventure," added Shea.
Please tell us more about that project.
Cameron: If you want full details, we have to send you an NDA, haha. Basically, there is a market in the U.S. Football is becoming massive and here in the USA is at a breaking point. Something needs to change and help to increase and match our level with the rest of the world. And with our experience and connections, we want to do something special for player development. It's something never done before in the U.S., offering a chance for players to focus on themselves and invest in themselves. It's going to be a game-changer.
We will know more within the next six months.