Brown racks up goals during Bellingham United's inaugural season
June 30, 2012
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -
By ANDREW LANG -- THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
Bellingham United forward Kellan Brown has followed the same routine each of the four years he's lived in Bellingham and played soccer for Western Washington University.
When school wraps up in early June, Brown heads south to spend the summer months in his hometown of Tacoma.
But this summer Brown found a reason to stay north, and the Bellingham United Football Club has reaped the benefits.
"It's definitely awesome being on the team," Brown said. "A lot of people in Bellingham have heard about (BUFC). Me being done with Western (soccer), I wouldn't have had an outdoor team to play with this summer. I haven't ever stayed up here. I always move back to Tacoma."
Brown went from not having a team to play for to becoming United's leading goal scorer through 12 matches, as both parties have benefitted from Brown's decision to spend the summer in the same town where he's made dents in the Vikings' record books.
Brown's 27 career goals at WWU ranks fourth among school leaders. He ranks fourth in career assists with 15. He ranks fifth in points with 69, and Brown's 73 matches played ranks sixth among school leaders.
It's no wonder Bellingham United coach Lance Calloway wanted Brown for BUFC's inaugural season.
"He is a dangerous player in that he's very creative," Calloway said in a phone interview. "He is a player who has great vision and has the ability to impose himself on the game."
Standing 5-foot-7 and weighing 140 pounds, Brown doesn't have an imposing physical presence. But Brown's quick footwork, pin point shot accuracy and natural ability to win balls in the air allows the forward to change the complexity of a match with a single strike of the ball.
"Because he's smaller, he's super quick and it's harder for defenders to get a hold of him," Calloway said. "He's got a low center of gravity as well. He's a clinical finisher type and is one of the best players in the air."
Brown said his aerial capabilities don't stem from being a great leaper, and it obviously doesn't have to do with his height.
"For my height, a lot of teammates say I can win a lot of balls in the air," Brown said. "Winning balls doesn't have to do with how tall you are. A lot of timing goes into it. I don't get pushed off the ball that often for how small I am. I use my lower body strength. (Being smaller) is something I've dealt with. All my life I've never been a big player. I've just learned how to play that way."
Brown admitted he wouldn't mind being a bit bigger, though.
"It would be nice to be a few more inches taller and have some bigger muscles," Brown joked.
His production, though, leaves little to laugh about.
Brown's eight goals ranks first among Pacific Coast League soccer players. No other BUFC player has more than three goals according to the top goal scorers listed on www.pcsl.com, but that doesn't mean Brown is solely responsible for Bellingham United's 7-5-0 record and second-place mark in the PCL standings.
"Really I'm not doing anything different," Brown said. "I'm just playing my hardest, and there's been some games that are better than others. Whenever we have our strongest lineup, I have my best chance to score. We have some strong mids in Oscar (Jimenez), (Brendan) Quilici or Sean (Connor). Those guys are standouts in the midfield. I feel like me, Tyler Bjork or Andrew Weishaar or any of the other forwards are going to score (with those guys in the midfield)."
BUFC's roster is composed of roughly two-thirds former and current WWU players, and working with old teammates plays a role in Brown's success.
"You kind of go into your senior year (of college soccer) and don't want it to end," Brown said. "This whole thing is like a new beginning. We don't know what we'll all end up doing past playing for Bellingham United, but it's a fun way to wrap up a (soccer) season."
Brown isn't sure about his future soccer plans. He's spending the next year at Western finishing earning his degree while working with both the men's and women's soccer teams. If another soccer opportunity came up, Brown said he'd be sure to take it.
"One of the most exciting parts of the season was the first game," Brown said. "We had all these fans, and we won 3-2. It was the opening game and we had a helicopter fly over the field. It was almost over the top. It was insane. At home games I think we average 800-1,000 fans, but last week when we played an undefeated team in Vancouver I think there was 100 people there. It's just the whole community. You'll see Bellingham United stuff everywhere. I think the owner did a good job of marketing the team. We have a lot of supporters."
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