Sandwick-born footballer Duncan Bray is among six former student athletes to be inducted into the hall of fame at a university in the USA.
The University of Southern Indiana Department of Athletics has announced the selection of the 2014 USI Athletic Hall of Fame class who will be inducted during homecoming week in February.
The class of six individuals and one team was selected by a nine-member USI Athletic Hall of Fame Committee.
Bray, who played for the US university’s team from 2001-03, joins baseball coach Gary Redman, volleyball player Kim Boehmer Coffman, softball player Lori Leonard Swaim, cross country athlete Mike Orban and baseball player Matt Vince on the list. The men’s basketball team from 1968-69 has also been selected.
Bray formerly represented Ness United, Scalloway and Lerwick Thistle. He played a big part in Thistle’s Shetland championship victory of 2000, which ended a decade of dominance in local football by the Lerwick side.
He headed off to college in the USA after that but came back to feature in the Shetland team’s victory in the Natwest Island Games of 2005. Bray came off the bench to score the second goal in the famous 2-0 win over Guernsey in the final at Gilbertson Park in front of a massive crowd.
He was a starter on the USI men’s soccer team from 2001-03, earning second-team All-America honours in 2003. He won many other top awards during his time with the American side.
USI director of athletics Jon Mark Hall said: “I continue to be amazed by the amount of outstanding student-athletes and coaches this young university has had.
“The class of 2014 truly represents our growing tradition here at USI. The six individuals and one team that will be honoured in February are truly worthy of this extraordinary honour. I know that the entire USI community is proud of this class and what it accomplished while at USI.”
Bray said: “I was surprised when I got word to call the college – I thought they had found out about some mischief we got into back in 2001.
“It was certainly an honour; the university is a top basketball school so most of the awards usually go to guys seven feet tall. It’s hard to believe a decade has gone by since I finished playing there.
“I have some great memories, especially from the 2002 and 2003 seasons when we did much better than expected.
“[My brother] Ian came out for a year in 2003 and had an excellent season as well, scoring in two of our biggest wins of the season. Still nothing compares to [the island games final of] 2005 – that’s a day I don’t think will ever be beaten.”
Bray now lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and works in the private yachting industry where he is a manager at international charter company Northrop & Johnson.
He said: “I’ve been back to Europe most years, mostly for work but did manage to get back to Shetland for a week in October after being at the Monaco yacht show.
“It was great to see the family and even managed a run aff in da boat – no bad for October. I’m hopeful of getting back again soon, maybe this summer for a run.”
Since his college days Bray has played with some well-known names from the football world.
He said: “It’s amazing the characters you find out here. I have played against George Weah and played in the same team as Ian Bishop who used to play for West Ham and Man City – he could ping a ball.
“In 2011 I joined a team I knew was full of Serbians and Brazilians. I was introduced to Zinho, thinking it was a nickname but it was the ‘Zinho’ who won the World Cup in 1994. We played up front together and at 45 he was still some player. He outscored me but I think I did all the running.”
His football days are now restricted to a group of guys who play once a week, but even that has its characters.
Bray said: “Some of the guys have been coming for 30 years, and just before my time a German fellow showed up, paid his $5 and put on his boots. It was Gerd Müller; he bought a pub close by and found out about Wednesday night football. He came for two or three years before going back to Europe to get into coaching.”
Bray has also kept in touch with former Aberdeen and Scotland goalkeeper Bobby Clark since his time in Indiana. Now an acclaimed coach, Clark led his side to the National Division One title this year, which Bray described as “some feat”.