JEWELL — Fans of Seaside youth sports remember Kai Davidson as the all-league soccer player and state-qualifying track athlete who went on to compete in both sports at the college level.
Students of Clatsop County — specifically Jewell — know her as Mrs. Brown, a teacher who also loves soccer and coaches track.
It’s been a long journey in a short period of time for 28-year-old Kai Brown (formerly Davidson), who overcame personal losses at a young age, then overcame a serious knee injury to play the game she loves.
She is in her fourth year of teaching first and second graders at Jewell School, where she also coaches middle school basketball and track. She still lives in Seaside, which makes for some very long days of commuting, teaching and coaching.
“It’s about a 45-minute drive, but it’s worth it,” Brown said. “I like teaching. Right now, at that age, they’re all like sponges, and learning fast. This age group is just learning how to read, and then comprehending what they’re reading.”
Brown recently accepted a job change for next school year, when she will lead the physical education department at Jewell.
For now, she still teaches the young ones, then after school works with the high jumpers for the school’s track teams.
In her final two years at Seaside High School, Brown (Class of 2011) qualified for state in the high jump and long jump, but soccer was her first love.
She went to Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay, with a scholarship to compete in soccer and track.
Her father and biggest fan, Art Davidson, died midway through her freshman year and she returned home.
“I only did soccer because my dad passed away right after the first season,” said Brown, who had already lost her mother at a very young age. “It’s kind of cool that he got to see me play at least a season of college soccer.”
Brown transferred to Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, where she was also on a soccer and track scholarship, and competed in both sports.
At one point in her soccer career, she suffered a posterior cruciate ligament knee injury, but continued to compete with a knee brace.
From there, Brown spent five summers working for the annual Portland Timbers youth camp.
“I still kick it around by myself, since we live near Broadway Park, but unless you go to Portland, there isn’t a lot of recreational soccer stuff out here,” she said of the North Coast. “Which is unfortunate. I try to stay in shape as much as I can. I went to the Seaside soccer game against Astoria, and as soon as I walked in, I had several people ask me when I’m going to be coaching.”
In fact, her coach — the girls’ coach at Seaside — Dave Rouse, “is trying to get me to help out next season,” Brown said.
Brown eventually received a bachelor’s degree in education at Washington State University — she’s still a big Cougars fan — and earned a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction online from Western Governors University.
Brown married two years ago. Her husband works for the Seaside Police Department, as does her brother, David.
For now, Kai and her husband have no plans of leaving the North Coast.
“My brother lives here, my sister (Amanda) is thinking about moving out here. My brother has two kids, and so it’s nice being an aunt to my nephew and niece.”
At 22, Brown learned that she had another brother, living in California.
“My dad passed away without knowing,” she said. “He works on rockets in California, in the Mojave Desert. He’s like the brains of the family.”
Since class sizes at Jewell School are much smaller, Brown has been teaching in-person since September. Needless to say, it’s been a long year because of the coronavirus pandemic, and she’s looking forward to summer.
“I’m going to Las Vegas for a conference when school gets out,” he said. “After that, I have a travel bug of going to different countries.”