In just his first MLS season, forward Deshorn Brown has already established himself in the starting eleven for the Colorado Rapids. The lanky Jamaican has always found success at every level he has played, and from the looks of things early on in Colorado, MLS will be no exception for the 22-year-old from Manchester Parish.
I recently sat down with Deshorn to learn a little more about the club's first-round SuperDraft pick, from his early days on the field, to his current roommate, his cooking, what he wants to improve, and national team ambitions:
How did you get started in soccer, was it always the game for you?
“A little community I grew up in Manchester we just played when I came from school. We’d go to the beach and play some 5v5, 3v3. They have church leagues and we’d just play like that. I didn’t really go training. God just gave me the gift to play soccer. I was just born with it mentally and I’ve got a good athletic body.
From primary school I got picked for St Elizabeth in High School and played four years there. My final year in 2009 we won the Championship. High School soccer in Jamaica is pretty huge. It’s like American football here - it’s all over - so the Championship was on television and the coaches over here were watching it as well. I had the game-winner, it finished 1-0 and I scored, so it was a great feeling.”
Preseason Goal: Brown header from Kindle, Powers
That led you to the United States and into college - how did that path progress for you?
"My mom was really happy about it but even I was a little sad because I wasn’t going to see (my family) for a really long time. I got a scholarship at the University of Mobile and had two wonderful years there: 2-time player of the year, offensive player of the year. (Head Coach) Peter Fuller helped me in Mobile. When I just came in I was scared to head the ball and he said, 'before you leave here I’m going to make sure you head the ball properly.'
I transferred to UCF (University of Central Florida) for the next semester and played 16 games scored 13 goals. At UCF, (Coach) Bryan Cunningham was a great guy as well. He taught me to always believe in myself and believe in God and in anything I can do. I’ve been through a lot of coaches that have helped me.”
The Rapids are not your first experience in “club” soccer outside of college...
“I’ve been to (Des Moines) Iowa my sophomore year playing for the Menace (of PDL). I played 10 games and ended up with 9 goals but I had to go back to college for pre-season. I played for Reading United in Pennsylvania. Brendon Burke, he coaches the PDL (Reading) team, he’s a great guy. We worked on a lot of my weaknesses, my finishing, when to hold the ball, my control. I’ve been able to achieve what I wanted to achieve and just keep going upwards. I went to the combine and ended up here.”
What kinds of things have you had to adjust to in a new city, new team, and MLS?
“The hardest thing is I didn’t have a steady home. I worked it out and things have become very easy and I feel like home. I’m trying to get my mom here because she’s never been in the States before. I want to be the first one to get her flying. I’m going to try and get her here for a game in the Summer. Coming from Jamaica it’s a little bit chilly (now).”
Brown scored first professional goal on 3/16 vs RSL
The first time I came here the altitude was really bad. I just keep working and working. I don’t feel it now and when I train here and go out to a different city I feel free-running, just more fit.
They make us feel welcome-Pablo (Mastroeni), Drew (Moor)-they treat us really well. They are the veterans on the team and have earned the respect so we do what they say and whatever they do we follow them. We just work with them and they let us feel like home with different guys from different teams. We talk, communicate in the locker room, get to know each other, so it’s been good.”
How is fellow rookie Dillon Powers as a roommate?
“He’s a great guy. We look out for each other. If he needs something and I can help I will help him. If I need something he will help me. We’ve been together for a few months and have been getting to know each other, and I met his family but he hasn’t met mine yet. One day I hope he will."
What do you like to do when you’re away from training and the pitch?
“I’m a chilling guy. I’ll go home and if there’s anything to do, any cleaning up, I’ll do it, and if not, then I’ll just make some snacks, watch some soccer games. Sometimes I just play some music, read a book, just try to chill, maybe sometimes talk to my mom.
Brown converts PK vs Chivas USA on 4/13
I cook though. My mom’s a good cook and she’s been teaching me so I can take care of myself. Dillon hasn’t tried it yet. My specialty is curry chicken. Another one is stewed chicken, rice and peas, dumplings, I make (festival) in the mornings for breakfast with eggs and a cup of tea and oatmeal. I mix it up.”
Now that you’re in MLS, what things do you need to work on in your game?
“Mostly my being in front of the goal. I don’t know if it’s because I just came into the league, but when I was in college I was consistent in front of the goal. I’ve always been up top. Sometimes my coaches put me outside, but if a team is defending more compact then I get more space to take them on. When we get back in the game I’d go back in the middle.
I’m just trying to work more consistently in front of the goal. I need to get back that calmness I used to have in front of the goal. I know the guys (in MLS) are faster, stronger, and think quicker so I’m just going to have to adjust as quick as possible.
Oscar (Pareja) is a great guy. He’ll say, ‘be more consistent in front of goal, you don’t have to rush’. I think I am rushing because I feel myself rushing and when I rush I don’t score. When I feel the way I used to feel I score just like when I scored that goal against Salt Lake. That’s the way I used to feel-calm. Since I got my first goal in the season I’m just going to keep it up. It was a big, big relief so you’re probably going to see a totally different type playing.”
Have you thought about possibly playing for Jamaica’s “Reggae Boyz” down the road?
“Right now I’m just focusing on here. If they call me I’ll go, but if they don’t I’ll stay here with the Rapids and work hard.
I don’t know if they’re going to call me, a young guy coming out of college, I don’t think they’re really focused on young players. They like to use guys full of experience. There’s a few MLS players, but to be honest, I don’t know if they’re going to call me one day.
People in the country keep asking why I’m not playing, especially as a young striker, and I have to get used to within the team. I have to say I’m not the JFF. They’re in charge of that. I hope they make it to the World Cup - that’s my country."
* Brian Jennings has covered the Rapids for Soccer365.com since 2002. He's not yet connected to Twitter, so if you have feedback or comments for him, please send to RapidsDigital@dsgpark.com and we'll forward to Brian. *