By ELLIE BAYLY
Major League Soccer preseason has arrived. For soccer fans, the icing on the cake has been swirled to perfection.
Emerald-green grass smells sweet at the Kino Sports Complex north stadium and surrounding fields. Cleats click along concrete paths and thunder onto the pitch. Golf carts zoom from point A to point B with earnest intent.
The Kino expanse is home to FC Tucson, a semi-pro team. For a period stretching from Jan. 27 through Feb. 25, FC Tucson partners with Pima County and other entities to host spring training for about half of the professional MLS teams.
The Desert Friendlies, kicked off Jan. 27 and ended Feb. 4. Featured teams included the Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders FC and New York Red Bulls. Famous players included U.S. national team star Clint Dempsey.
The second period opens Feb. 18 and ends Feb. 25. Teams will include New York City FC and the Colorado Rapids.
As an intern at FC Tucson, I’m lucky to have a front seat for the spectacle. I gain insight into how a major preseason event comes into existence.
It’s a marvel to see how so many people work to make things happen. Imagine a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle, where each piece must clearly communicate with others to make things happen as they should.
Those constantly shifting parts?
Let me recount just a few: ticketing, media, sponsorship, marketing, grounds maintenance, staffing, visitors and setup.
We’re hosting guests for a 6-week-long major holiday, and these guests are so clever. Clever with a soccer ball. Clever at passing, trapping, angling, arcing and locating shots to a teammate while avoiding an opponent.
These thoughts run through my head every day I see them play.
Passion for the game of soccer is an intangible thing. Yet it is so brilliantly obvious when watching these players sprint in every direction.
You hear it in the pounding of their feet on the grass as they tear after a ball going down the sideline. You hear it in their gasping breaths as they run hard and fast until their muscles burn. You see it as they exert every ounce of cunning and strength to gain possession of the soccer ball.
As MLS preseason in Tucson continues, take a moment to appreciate the artistry of soccer. Its athletes put their skills on display every second of every game.
Now is the time to think about why so many love the sport as youths and why it has become so beloved with adult and professional leagues in the United States.
It is adored beyond imagination in other countries.
They’re here! Appreciate it. Embrace it.
MLS preseason at Kino Sports Complex, 2500 E. Ajo Way, continues with the Desert Diamond Cup:
Saturday, Feb. 18
- New England Revolution vs. Colorado Rapids, 1 p.m.
- New York Red Bulls vs. Sporting Kansas City, 3:30 p.m.
- New York City Football Club vs. Houston Dynamo, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 25
- 5th place team vs. 6th place team, 1 p.m.
- 3rd place team vs. 4th place team, 3:30 p.m.
- 1st place team vs. 2nd place team, 6 p.m.
General admission tickets cost $22 adults, $15.50 child. Reserved seating costs $27.
For more information and to buy tickets, visit fctucson.com.
By ELLIE BAYLY
Scorsese. Stone. Coppola. Primack?
Bret Primack rolls with legends, Pima Community College students and anyone else he meets. He is a man guided by his passions for film and jazz, but storytelling as a videographer and journalist is his stock-in-trade.
“No matter what type of film or video it is, it’s always about a story,” Primack said. “I’m a storyteller.”
He learned at the feet of giants.
Primack has always been interested in movies, but had never considered it as a career until he attended a film conference where Francis Ford Coppola spoke.
“He had yet to direct his first film,” Primack said. “He wasn’t the famous filmmaker that he was yet, but there was something really magical about him.”
Coppola crystallized it for Primack. “That’s who I want to be,” Primack said. “That’s what I want to do.”
He wrote a letter to Coppola, and Coppola responded.
In 1968, Primack’s first year at New York University, Coppola was shooting a film nearby.
Primack contacted him and they had breakfast together.
“George Lucas was there. He was like his assistant,” Primack said. “So I got to hang out with them.”
Primack sensed chemistry between Coppola and himself, and seriously considered asking to be an intern or offering to volunteer on the project.
“If I had done that, my life would have gone in an entirely different direction,” Primack said. “If I could change one thing in my life, it would be that.”
But his parents wanted him to stay in school, which he did.
Primack recognizes the opportunity he had, but understands why it didn’t happen and how it put him on a path to film school.
“I was hanging out with Francis Coppola and George Lucas and Robert Duvall—my God,” Primack said. “But it just wasn’t meant to be at that time.”
Primack entered NYU’s film school shortly after, where he was taught by Martin Scorsese and became a classmate of Oliver Stone.
From Scorsese, Primack learned a love of cinema, directors and film analysis. Primack saw Scorsese’s dedication to film and his willingness to share details with his students.
“It was an opportunity to study someone who was not only an expert but very enthusiastic and very giving in terms of what he wanted to share with his students,” he said. “You couldn’t help but want to go along with him on the journey because he made everything so cool.”
Primack came to appreciate the work of directors studied in Scorsese’s classes, including Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock and John Ford.
“When you study with someone like that … suddenly the world of possibilities opens up,” Primack said.
However, another passion remained constant in Primack’s life.
Before the film bug bit him, Primack cherished jazz.
He played the trumpet as a youth and his father was a musician.
Famed jazz musician Louis Armstrong’s appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” galvanized Primack, and he was a die-hard fan.
“He was just so joyful,” Primack said. “I just wanted to climb into the screen and join him.”
In 2006, Primack eventually combined his jazz passion with his love of film in the “Jazz Video Guy,” sharing the stories of jazz musicians via video.
Primack arrived in Tucson earlier in the summer of 2001.
“I had been visiting friends out here for a couple of winters and it seemed like a good place,” he said. “So one day I packed up life and drove here.”
Today, Primack has moved toward teaching, sharing his knowledge with those who want to learn.
Recommended as an instructor to PCC by a friend and faculty colleague, he prepares PCC students in Documentary Filmmaking, Digital Video Production and Video Editing.
“I can empower them,” Primack said. “I know that there are so many opportunities coming. I think there is nothing better in this life than creating something yourself … putting it out there. I love my students, I want them to succeed.”
One of those students, Tyler Bozetski, paints a similar picture.
He’s very open,” Bozetski said. “He’s always eager to talk with people about the subject. He explains things clearly so you can understand. He’s very fun, humorous.”
Bob Mintzer, chairman of the jazz program at the University of Southern California and a Grammy-winning saxophonist, is a major supporter of Primack.
“His background in filmmaking, experience as a journalist and passion for the arts and humanities make Bret an amazing artist in his own right,” Mintzer said.
Primack tells stories in multiple ways—via video, the internet and writing. He realizes he has been lucky to meet many captivating individuals throughout his life.
“I’ve known a lot of interesting people,” Primack said.