Midseason Signing Jalen Brown Is Making An Impact For Cosmos B

The forward scored in his first start for the team
Published Jun 22, 2018
It's not always easy joining a team in the middle of a season, especially when it's a rather short one, but forward Jalen Brown is making the most of his opportunity with Cosmos B.
Signed by the team May 31, the former second-round draft choice of New York City FC realizes that he must put in extra effort to crack a Starting XI on a regular basis, which already includes productive strikers Bledi Bardic and Wojciech Wojcik.
"Just continue to work hard in training, push myself, try to score as many goals as I can in training," he said. "That way it translates to the game. If I'm not starting, at least I’m helping them get better. Training is the best way to push myself and my teammates."
That's a good attitude from the 23-year-old Indianapolis native, who made his first start and scored his first goal for the National Premier Soccer League side in its 4-2 win at the Seacoast United Mariners last Saturday.
"Things are going great," Brown said. "The team welcomed me pretty well. I got acclimated to the team, coaches, and the rest of the staff. I think I fit in pretty well. I like the way they train. They keep a high standard of play and I'm enjoying myself."
Without a team after the Rochester Rhinos went on hiatus for this United Soccer League season, Brown noticed that his former Xavier University teammate, center back Garrett Halfhill, was playing with Cosmos B.
"So, I just sent a text to him one day," he said. "Asked him how he's doing, asked him about the team and he recommended that I come here."
Head coach Carlos Mendes, who had the final say on whether Brown could join the team, liked what he has seen from the 5-10, 170-lb. striker.
"He brings something different to us.," Mendes said. "He's a true wide player, very good 1-v-1. He's got speed. So, I think whether he's starting a game or coming off the bench, he gives us a different look. In the attacking third, when he goes at people, he's very, very successful. I think that's something we were looking to add. I thought Saturday he was very, very good, especially in the first half. He did great for us. He gave us width and was very dangerous."
Last year turned out to be one crazy rollercoaster ride for Brown, who learned how fame and teams can be fleeting in professional soccer.
In January, things looked up as NYCFC made Brown the 38th overall selection (second round) in the MLS SuperDraft.
"It was a great feeling, especially with all those guys at NYCFC," he said. "It's great to know that someone like Patrick Vieira sees something in you and getting to train with all those great players is an experience I'll never forget."
Brown scored a goal in a 9-0 victory over Jacksonville University, but was released during the preseason.
"It's disappointing not to stay on the team," he said. "I gained some experience. The best thing that I learned was how to play at that level, pros. I learned how they train, how they play, especially world-class players like [Andrea] Pirlo and David Villa. Got to see what they do day to day. I definitely took a lot from them during my time there."
In March, life looked better when the Rhinos signed him. Brown tallied once in 19 league appearances, but his time in Rochester was much more than just numbers.
"Rochester certainly was a good experience," he said. "That was my first season as a professional. Definitely learned a lot, what it takes to be a professional day in and day out, how to take care of your body each day and having to be at practice each day. Being consistent is what I learned. Bob Lilley [head coach] and [assistant coach Mark] Pulisic helped me out a lot. It's sad they weren't able to keep going as a team."
Brown was down again, with the rest of the Rhinos organization, when the team owners decided the club needed to take a year off to reorganize for the future.
"It was tough," he said. "Around the end of the season, we found out the future was uncertain. So, as players you've got to take care of yourself first. We expected to go into free agency. I would have liked to have stayed. I wish they were still here today. We made the playoffs, got to the semifinals, lost a tough game to Louisville. It's a shame the season can't go on."
But it can for Cosmos B.
In fact, Cosmos B (7-0-0, 21 points) can clinch a playoff berth if it defeats the defending NPSL Champion Elm City Express when the two teams meet at Hofstra Soccer Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y. Saturday at 7 p.m.
"Our goal as a team is to be in the championship game and win," Brown said. "So, a playoff spot is important in steps to the championship. You've got to take it game by game. We can't look ahead to the playoffs because we have to play well leading up to the playoffs. Each game from here on out is a step that we have to take to play in the playoffs.
"I think it's exciting to know you're playing the defending champions. Certainly that will add some urgency, but I think we've got to play our game and focus what we do best -- playing with the ball, keeping the ball, being confident, going forward, pressuring and scoring goals."