Logan Brown’s versatility could be key for UMass men’s soccer going forward

Brown has played six different positions for the Minutemen

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Logan Brown’s versatility could be key for UMass men’s soccer going forward

Mehroz Kapadia

Mehroz Kapadia

Mehroz Kapadia

Mehroz Kapadia

By Javier Melo, Assistant Sports Editor

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It’s natural for a center back to transition to defensive midfield, but winger? That’s strange. Even stranger is a center back playing striker. Meet Logan Brown, the Massachusetts men’s soccer team’s freshman factotum.

Brown has had significant game time in his freshman season for the Minutemen (4-6-0, 0-2 Atlantic 10) in their ten games so far and has become a helpful plug whenever coach Fran O’Leary needs to fill in a hole.

“I think if I count it correctly, I’ve played six, seven positions this year,” Brown said. “Every midfield position, striker and center back. Getting that trust from Fran is huge for me as a first-year guy just because looking into the future I still have three more full seasons to go. Playing all of these positions I think helps develop my complete game.

“Things like outside mid, you work on your pace and your dribbling ability. Center mid it’s more passing and control ― things like that. Striker is obviously finishing. So just getting that whole complete game, playing every position will help me become a better player and having that trust as well would boost anyone’s confidence.”

O’Leary attributed Brown’s versatility to his personality as well as his game.

“He’s unselfish, unspoiled, never complains,” O’Leary said. “He’s asked to do a job that he’s not accustomed to, that’s foreign to him and he has a smile on his face every day. He’s excited to get on the field, whether it’s in goal or up front. He’s a competitor, so he’s been great to have around.”

Brown was practicing with the first-team squad on Monday, a possible glimpse at the role he may play come Wednesday night. He was positioned at striker during the drill, a role he’s more than familiar with, having scored two goals this season.

“Playing with those guys really helps a lot,” Brown said. “Just getting used to the speed of play because college soccer is just another level compared to club soccer or D.A. soccer coming from high school. Getting consistent minutes, getting consistent reps with those guys in practice just helps you become a better player so much quicker than it would playing on the other side [with the second team].

“You get so much more used to the speed of the game and how the team wants you to play and things like that; and they really help you out because they’ve gone through multiple seasons of playing college soccer so they know where to be, what Fran wants ― things like that always helps us young guys out.”

While it isn’t confirmed that Brown will be starting on Wednesday, it is sure that he’ll see game time. O’Leary has made it a precedent to give the young players time during these games, whether or not it’s A-10 play. Brown started against Saint Louis over the weekend and has had extended time on the field. His expanded role for UMass apparently comes from his ability to adapt, something young players tend to struggle with.

“Logan’s a tough personality,” O’Leary said. “He’s a strong personality. He has a winning mentality, so we’ve asked him to play a lot of different roles this season. He has the make-up to go into a game and not be frightened.”

Brown has been involved in every facet of the game except one: goalkeeper. Should the opportunity arise for him to play there, he’ll certainly be prepared.

“Well, I was a goalkeeper three years ago and then I transitioned to the field,” Brown said. “So I’m pretty sure I’m fourth string.”

UMass kicks off against Davidson at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in Davidson, NC.

Javier Melo can be reached by at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @JMeloSports.