Hahahaha they call him hulk. He's not good. I feel bad that people are putting these false ideas in his head.
2011 HERALD ALL-AREA BOYS SOCCER PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Brown ends Westover career as three-time Herald POY
Patriots scoring machine Danny Brown finishes his Westover career as one of its all-time leading scorers as he now takes his talents to national JUCO powerhouse Darton College.
ALBANY — The transformation of Danny Brown has been like something out of the “Incredible Hulk.”
Four years ago, Brown came to Westover as a scrawny freshman pushover who was unsure of his ability and talent, playing in the shadows of his older brother Tommy.
Four years later, he leaves as one of the biggest, baddest players to ever roam the Patriots’ soccer fields.
“He went from being just an OK utility player to an absolute beast,” said Greg Brown, Danny’s father and Westover assistant coach who is both his son’s biggest fan — and critic. “He really struggled at first playing in Tommy’s shadow as a freshman, but once Tommy left, he stepped up. He grew. He hit puberty. He got big. He got fast. And he found that finishing instinct that a lot of players don’t have.”
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Danny Brown leaves Westover as one of the school’s all-time leading scorers with 96 goals — netting a Southwest Georgia-best 39 this season alone to go along with 11 assists — and now heads to Darton College on a scholarship as a three-time winner of The Herald’s Player of the Year honor.
“I was really satisfied with how our season went and I enjoyed (my final year) with my teammates; we had great chemistry,” said Brown, who led Westover to a 12-4-2 record and a trip to the GHSA Class AAA Sweet 16 for the second year in a row. “We made it further than any team in four years has at Westover and I feel like we could’ve gone farther, but just (putting Westover soccer back on the map) was a big step for us.”
Brown, who fell just four scores short of his personal mission to end his Patriots career with 100 goals, managed to accomplish what he did despite missing two games early in the season. Sometimes criticized for being too much of a “beast” on the soccer field for his often aggressive style of attacking the net, he was thrown out of the Patriots’ second game of the year after getting a red card in Westover’s shutout loss to Lowndes. With Brown having to sit out the next two games, per GHSA rules, Westover subsequently lost its next contest and tied the second without its star in the lineup, leading to what Brown called a valuable learning experience.
“It was a cheap call. I got tangled up with a guy who was running in front of me and when he fell, I jumped over him and was called for ‘stomping an opponent’ — when the video we sent into the GHSA afterward (in hopes of getting the suspension reversed) clearly showed I didn’t,” said Brown, whose suspension was not reversed.
“But I learned from it because I was being way too aggressive in a game we were already down 6-0, and I didn’t need to put myself in a position to have something like that happen. It hurt my team — because we should’ve won those next two games, rather than losing one and tying the other — and I hurt myself because I probably would’ve gotten to 100 (career) goals if not for that.
“But (being aggressive is) just how I’ve always played and I’ve gotten some pretty good results. I just need to learn (how to harness it a little better).”
Brown’s career high is five goals in a game, a feat he accomplished twice. But those big scoring outputs pale in comparison to his most shining moment he had as a junior. It’s a moment that both Danny and Greg say they’ll never forget.
“My favorite game, most memorable moment or whatever, had to be in our playoff game against Mary Persons (High School) last year,” Danny recalled. “We were down 2-0 at the half and were playing really bad, but we ended up winning, 4-2 — on the road — to reach further in the playoffs than any Westover team had since my brother was playing.”
Greg remembers it for a different reason: his emotional halftime talk with his son that spurred a two-goal, one-assist performance by Danny.
“We were just flat. Not playing well. Not communicating. Nothing was going right,” Greg said. “I pulled him aside at halftime and told him we needed him (to put the team on his shoulders) — and he did. He stepped up to the pitch and just took the game over.”
Brown, who was recruited by several Division II schools, didn’t quite have the grades to make the jump to a four-year program right out of high school. But he said he plans to use his two years at Darton to grow both on the field and in the classroom in hopes of getting a scholarship at the next level. Although, he understands playing for coach Bart Sasnett and Darton College — which finished as the No. 5-ranked team in the nation this past season — will be anything but a cake walk.
“Coach has told me he sees me contributing right away as one of the top four strikers on the team — but I know I’m gonna have to fight for my spot. It won’t be handed to me. I’ve got a lot of work and conditioning to do between now and then (to be able to hang) at the level they play at,” said Brown, who’s had a bit of a setback this summer, coming down with mononucleosis three weeks ago, which has taken him out of his offseason workout routine and away from his job as a YMCA youth camp instructor. “We start conditioning at Darton next month and I just hope I’m not too far behind because of the mono.”
If there’s one thing Greg Brown’s learned about his son, it’s that Danny can handle adversity. And Greg has no doubt Danny can bounce back from this and have an impact right away when the Cavs open their season Aug. 27.
“He closed the season strong and we hope he can carry that momentum over to Darton. We’re thrilled he’s staying close to home and we can’t wait to watch him,” said Greg, whose daughter Becky, another former Westover star, just finished her career with the Lady Cavs last season and is now headed to play for Division II Clayton State. “But Danny knows this better than anyone: He needs to train harder on the field and work harder in the classroom. He needs to become more of a student-athlete than an athlete-student. That’s been his Achilles heel the last three years.”
Greg then paused before adding with a laugh: “But if there’s one thing we learned with Becky (as she played for Darton women’s coach Ken Veilands) and all her three-a-day, early-morning 6 a.m. runs — followed by a 10 a.m. run and then a 3 p.m. run — Danny’s in a for a whole new level of intensity he’s never seen before. I have no doubt Sasnett will take care of that.”