New England Soccer Today

Give Brown a shot

Adin Brown, who starred in goal for the Revolution from 2002-04, is without a team heading into the 2012 season.(Photo by Art Donahue/

“The Bear” and “Man Mountain” are just a couple of the nicknames former New England Revolution goalkeeper Adin Brown earned due to his imposing presence in goal. His impressive stature and ability in net gave many high hopes that the 6-foot-5 ‘keeper was the future of the U.S. National Team.

Now, thanks to a career derailed by injuries, the undeniably talented ‘keeper finds himself without a team as MLS preseason camps get underway. While teams like the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls deal with crises in net, often turning to underperforming or overpaid – even at Designated Player prices in New York’s case – foreign ‘keepers for help, Brown sits without a club.

Yes, injuries have made it hard to count on having a healthy Brown for a full season, but when the ‘keeper has remained healthy he’s easily been one of the top netminders in the league. New England Revolution fans will always remember Brown’s playoff heroics, posting a 0.66 goals against average and a save percentage north of 82 in 10 MLS playoff games while playing a huge role in leading the Revs on their surprising run to MLS Cup 2002. The Revs fell short in overtime in the final, but only made it that far due to Brown’s heroics (see video below). In total, Brown kept four shutouts in the 2002 playoffs, still a team record, and gave up a goal in regulation in just two of seven games.

Brown was also the first Revolution goalkeeper to complete his time with the team with a winning regular season record (21-15-11) and still holds the best winning percentage in team history (.564). His Revolution regular season career goals against average (1.39) and save percentage (71.3) also rank a very close second behind current goalie Matt Reis.

After injuries allowed Reis to grab the starting spot in 2004, Brown headed to Norway to join Aalesund FK, where he was the starting keeper and became a legend after scoring a 90th minute goal in a 2-2 draw against Norwegian giants Rosenborg B.K. Brown returned to the U.S. in 2010 and joined the Portland Timbers, sticking with the squad as they joined MLS in 2011. With Tory Perkins as the starter – combined with a pair of injuries – Brown only managed two MLS appearances this past year and his option was declined at the end of the season.

In 1999, Brown, who attended William & Mary, became only the third keeper to earn a spot on NCAA First Team All-American twice, joining Tony Meola and Brad Friedel, who are both among the top keepers in U.S. history. Now the 33-year-old Brown, the man whose play has earned him numerous national team call-ups though injuries have kept him from being capped, is without a team heading into the 2012 season.

Brown made $76,000 last season according to the Major League Soccer Players Union, comparable to inexperienced backups such as Andrew Weber, Jay Nolly and Andy Gruenebaum. Undoubtedly if a team were to sign brown it would be a risk, but at $76,000 or possibly less – an amount not uncommon for a back-up ‘keeper – it would hardly be a big one.

The potential reward: picking up someone who could still be one of the top goalies in the league at a bargain price if he remains healthy. At worst, the team would end up with a fantastic person both to the fans and in the locker room.  Brown’s injuries have to be a concern, but he’s too big of a talent for teams in an expanding MLS to give up on.

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