By Michiko Araki
Jason and Justin Buren have always been the closest of siblings.
Growing up, they played many different sports together such as track, basketball, lacrosse, baseball and soccer. Ultimately, they decided to focus on football as they felt there were more opportunities for them in the sport.
Each has played football for 12 years, six of them together, starting with Community football. Having played together at Centennial Secondary throughout high school, Jason and Justin are now reunited as members of the SFU Clan football team.
Jason, who is one year older than Justin, cited going to SFU as a collective decision between him and his brother.
“I wanted to go back home and attend school in Washington State, but I reconsidered my decision and we both decided that SFU was our best bet,” says Jason.
Justin decided to follow in his brother’s footsteps and attend SFU one year later. The dynamic duo is definitely happy about having the opportunity to play together once again.
This year, Jason switched to the cornerback position, while Justin got his first taste of the NCAA with his first career start as a receiver. This switch has had a positive effect on the brothers as they are able to work together and help each other improve.
“I know how to grind his gears,” laughs Justin. “We think a lot alike, so when we play together there are times [when we] both know exactly what [the other is] thinking, because we’re on different sides of the ball. I think it makes us better because we give each other the best looks so that we can improve.”
“I’m more inclined to try and help him get to the next level because I’m not afraid of [correcting] him, and he’s not afraid of making a play on me, so it’s beneficial to be playing with my brother for sure,” adds Jason.
When asked about a memorable football moment, Justin remembers the first time they got their hands on their first set of football gear.
“When we first started playing football and got all our shoulder pads and helmets for the first time, we went to the backyard, put on all our gear and started hitting each other for fun,” said Justin.
Jason quotes his favourite football memory as winning two championships with the Centaurs in 2009 with the AAA Senior and Junior teams, and receiving the AAA Junior MVP award from BC High School Football. The brothers even had an opportunity to share a special moment when playing football together in the AAA Junior championship game.
In the AAA Junior final, Jason and Justin completed crucial plays to help the team in the win.
“I fumbled the ball with a few minutes left in the game after catching a deep pass and it was the worst feeling in the world and I was really upset with myself,“ recalls Justin. “Afterwards, on offence, I knew I had to make up for it. I ended up getting an interception and we started marching the field.”
After Justin’s crucial interception, the Centaurs inched closer to the end zone as the game clock ticked away. With only 14 seconds left in the game, Jason kicked the game-winning field goal putting the Centaurs up one point to clinch the championship win.
“He made the kick and we all rushed onto the field, even though the game wasn’t over, said Justin. “It was such a great feeling to win together.”
“That was a very special moment in my football career,” added Jason.
Perhaps it is special moments like these that give the Burens such a strong sibling bond on and off the field.
We’re excited to see what lies ahead for the brothers as they play with the Clan over the next few years!