Two brothers, United in Minnesota
Growing up in Woodbury, Minnesota, Brent and Brian Kallman played pick-up soccer in their basement. Fifteen years and hundreds of practices later, the brothers are playing professional soccer with Minnesota United in Blaine. The stakes may be higher and the stadiums may be bigger, but these hometown boys couldn't be happier that they're teammates once again.
There was never a dull moment in the Kallman household. As the youngest of six children, Brent was often pitted against his older siblings.
"Because there was such a big age difference, you wouldn't think there was a lot of competition, but there actually was," Brian said. "My other brother and I would play basketball against [Brent] on our knees. We would hit him as hard as we could and Brent would just get up laughing."
As the boys got older, basement basketball made way for organized competition. Both brothers attended Woodbury Senior High School and Creighton University in Nebraska. While Brian focused solely on soccer, Brent split his time between six different sports: soccer, basketball, baseball, wrestling, hockey, and football.
"Soccer was always my best sport," Brent said. "I knew that I had the best chance of progressing in soccer. I always hoped that's what I could do when I got older."
Brent's hopes came true when he signed his first professional deal earlier this year with United. Brian began his professional career when he was drafted by the Thunder in 2006. Four years later he moved to the Minnesota Stars, which became Minnesota United in 2012.
"You know it's something special. He's seven years younger than I am, so we've never even come close to playing on the same team," Brian said. "So for him to sign a contract and two weeks later for us to be playing together on the field, it was pretty sweet."
The sweetness continued as Brent started his first game alongside his brother in May. Frequently heard yelling out to his brother, Brian was determined to push Brent to the limit.
"I've had a chance to play with some really good center backs over the years and I know my brother is one of them," Brian said. "I maybe even hold him to a higher standard because he's my little brother and I know what he's capable of."
Playing soccer with a family member wouldn't be quite as touching if it wasn't at home. Tailgating before every game, the Kallman brothers' biggest fans are their family. Brent lives with his parents in Woodbury and Brian lives with his wife in St. Paul. Married last July, they are expecting a baby boy next month.
"We see [our family] all the time." Brent said. "At family gatherings we play board games that get pretty competitive." Family favorites include Pictionary and Canasta, that, despite being team games, Brian claims to win most of the time.
Looking to the future, Brian hopes to start a business that incorporates soccer into daycare to harness his longtime interest in coaching. Flashing his signature, mustached grin, 23-year-old Brent expressed his lack of plans.
"I have no idea, none, of what I am going to do after soccer," Brent said. "I'm just starting to dip my toes into the coaching thing to try and see if that's something I'd like to do later on."
At present, Brent and Brian are just enjoying every minute they play together. The two brothers cherish being cheered on by their friends and family, in a stadium less than 30 minutes away from their memory-filled basement.
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