Deshorn Brown back from trip to Jamaica for grandmother's funeral with clear mind
Professional soccer players, like all professions, are often asked to put their personal life to the side when they go to work so they can focus entirely on the task at hand.
Colorado Rapids forward Deshorn Brown recently had the two collide, creating one of the more difficult weeks he's faced during an outstanding rookie season.
Days before the Rapids were to play Chivas USA in California, Brown learned that his grandmother had passed away in his native Jamaica.
The 22-year-old made the trip with the team to Los Angeles, hoping he could use soccer as a way to put aside his sorrows.
Colorado was down 1-0 to Chivas in the 28th minute when the Rapids were awarded a penalty kick. Brown, the team's leading scorer - who had scored a penalty kick against Chivas in April - confidently grabbed the ball to take the kick, however his shot was saved by Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
"The first week was really hard," Brown told ColoradoRapids.com. "Especially then missing that PK against Chivas, and a couple of others I should have put away. That was a really, really tough moment."
The Rapids ended up scoring and coming away with a 1-1 tie, but Brown had a hard time getting over his loss, as well as his missed opportunities.
Profile: Deshorn Brown
"I wasn't really doing good in training, but [head coach] Oscar (Pareja) sat me down and tried to refresh my mind," Brown said.
The Rapids next match was against the Vancouver Whitecaps on August 17. And now, the team had other options up top after signing Vicente Sanchez and Gabriel Torres, as well as the return to health of Edson Buddle.
But Pareja gave Brown the start and the rookie came through by scoring the game-winning goal in the 36' minute - his seventh tally of the season.
The next day, the team's top draft pick was on a flight to Manchester, Jamaica to attend his grandmother's funeral.
"It was a great feeling getting to leave after winning that game," Brown said. "(My family) has been watching the games every weekend, and were happy to see me down there. It was a great feeling. I was happy to see my family because it's been a long, long time that I've seen them. I got to see them for a week and spend some time with them, so that was really amazing."
Having felt he redeemed himself on the field with the goal against the Whitecaps, and eased his sorrows by seeing his family, Brown also came across more good news.
"There was an event going on at my high school, and Jamaica's National Team coach was there watching Premier League games," Brown said, referring to new Reggae Boyz manager Winfried Shafer. "We were able to share a few words. He just told me to keep up the good work, and that I'm doing well."
Being in Jamaica during the Rapids' bye week didn't mean Brown was sitting still. He received daily emails from fitness coach Paul Caffrey with instructions on stretching and strengthening exercises to do until he returned.
Now back in Colorado, Brown is hoping to finish the season strong.
"I feel really good," he said. "I thought the altitude was going to hold me back, but I haven't felt it since I got back. (The trip) helped out lot - relaxing the muscles and freeing my mind from certain stuff. Coming back is like I'm starting over fresh again."