Andy Rose knows all about tradition.
As a midfielder in UCLA, he made a point to carry on the prestigious reputation of the Bruins soccer program. That included four national championships since 1985 and a slew of players playing professionally in Major League Soccer and overseas.
Now with the Sounders FC, he is driven to maintain a similar tradition that has seen three consecutive US Open Cup titles as an MLS franchise and four league titles in the USL and A-League.
He sees the three Open Cup banners hanging over the walkway leading from the locker room to the team’s training ground at Starfire and wants to be a part of continuing that heritage. And if the banners weren’t enough of a reminder, he sees teammates Roger Levesque and Zach Scott, assistant coach Brian Schmetzer and broadcasters Alan Hinton and Jimmy Gabriel as reminders of what is being upheld by the club.
“I’ve learned a lot from Brian Schmetzer and Roger and Zach already,” Rose said. “It’s such an important and vital part of the team, to understand that history. It gives you more pride and passion when you put on the badge.”
In college, Rose proudly represented the Bruins in the same way.
He was a four-year starter at UCLA, finishing his career with five goals and 11 assists. He took ownership of the responsibility of wearing the UCLA uniform his senior year after deferring to upperclassmen like David Estrada, Michael Stephens and Kyle Nakazawa in previous years.
“You really start thinking about that when you’re finished,” Rose said. “It’s something that I really got ahold of my senior year when I saw it as one more year to make sure the young guys appreciated what it was to play there.”
In addition to his older teammates, UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo was a reminder of the institution of Bruins soccer. Salcedo was an All-American in 1993 and went on to play in MLS before taking on coaching duties. He instilled the honor of wearing the team colors early on in Rose’s college career, just as Schmetzer, Levesque and Scott have for the Sounders.
The heritages of the two teams meet frequently. With head coach Sigi Schmid, technical director Chris Henderson, assistant coach Kurt Schmid and teammates Estrada and Patrick Ianni, as well as others in the organization, the UCLA roots run deep in the Sounders organization, helping in the process of instilling the importance of tradition. And while they may overlap, the two teams share their own unique identities.
To those that wear the badge, it’s a tradition unlike any other.