Player countdown: Chris Brown
How it all came to be...
Chris Brown grew up in Portland, Oregon. His parents signed him up for soccer when he was five-years old, and he was coached by his father the first couple of years. Brown started playing competitively at the age of eight with FC Portland where he played until he left for college. His team was very successful due to superior guidance from Coach Clive Charles, one of the best coaches in the United States whom Brown felt lucky to play under. The last year FC Portland was together, Brown led his team to an Under-18 National Championship. Brown proudly noted that, "We beat Evan Whitfield's club team in the Regional Finals to go to Nationals. I still bug him about that."
Brown attended a private school, Jesuit High, just to play soccer. The team was good and they had a great coach, and Brown led Jesuit to four state championships. Brown's high school coach was also his Region's Olympic Development Program (ODP) head coach. He played with the Under-17, Under-18, Under-20 and Under-23 National Teams, and eventually the Olympic Team.
As a result of his success at the high school, club and ODP level, Brown was a hot college prospect. However, Brown was only interested in one school. From the time Brown was ten-years old, he had dreamed of playing soccer at Portland University. There was never any doubt he would go to Portland; especially since his club coach, Charles, was also the head coach of Portland at the time. As a freshman at Portland, Brown's team made it to the Final Four. Brown notched 33 goals in his Portland career, and was named All-West Coast Conference First Team his senior year. That same year, he was also nominated for the Missouri Athletic Club Collegiate Player of the Year award.
After four years at Portland University, the now 28-year old midfielder/forward, departed to train with the Under-23 National Team. This is where the Kansas City Wizards head coach watched Brown develop. He told Brown he was going to draft him, and sure enough, he was selected in the First Round (Sixth Overall) of the 1999 MLS College Draft. When Brown was growing up, there wasn't a league; that wasn't a reality. The Portland native knew he wanted to play somewhere after college, even if it was over in Europe. The novel professional league in the United States made Brown's dream of playing soccer for a living- a dream come true.
For the Wizards, Brown led all rookies in goals while splitting his time between the Wizards and the U.S. Under-23 National Team. After two years and an MLS Cup with the Wizards, Brown was traded to the New England Revolution. He made himself known to Revolution fans by scoring a hat trick in his first game at Gillette Stadium, producing a 5-1 win over the Chicago Fire. The season with the Rev's ended abruptly for Brown due to a broken foot late in that first game. The next season, Brown headed to the San Jose Earthquakes via trade with New England Revolution on April 8, 2004. Despite playing just 561 minutes in 11 games for the Earthquakes, Brown remained a dangerous threat up front, nailing two goals. After the 2004 season, Brown was placed on the expansion list and he was hastily picked up by Real Salt Lake. He was selected in the Sixth Round (Twelfth overall) of the 2004 MLS Expansion Draft.
Coach Ellinger's Call...
"I've known Chris for a long time and through the Under-23 National Team when I was an assistant coach with them. He is a forward or midfielder who can score goals and is very hard-working. He can hold the ball well with his back to goal when he plays forward and he can turn and beat defenders as a right midfielder. He wants to be out on the field and he has no intention of losing his starting spot. He has played every game for us and played very well."
Field Vision: Midfielder Leighton O'Brien says...
"Chris and I have been friends for a long time and played against each other many times. He is a very good player and you can tell he was coached very well growing up. He is competitive and versatile and his technical skills help him make our team better."
Things you need to know...
Brownie, Brown Bear, Master Chief
Music, XBox, basketball, babysitting
Major in College:
Most memorable moments:
MLS Champions 2000, Hat trick w/ Revs in first game (2003), U-18 national champions with his club team, F.C. Portland in 1994
Radiohead, Interpol, Beck, Franz Ferdinand
Garden State, Napoleon Dynamite
Whatever currently reading
Favorite TV show:
Pardis, who played soccer for the W-League's Kansas City Mystics
Favorite athlete outside of soccer:
Being able to play soccer for a living