By Jeff Helfrich/NPSL.com
Neco Brett showcases his scoring abilities on a pitch in Pittsburgh.
But he acquired those skills in the streets of Jamaica.
“We don’t really have good soccer fields,” Brett said. “You have to have good ball control and be skillful. You have to be accurate, you know? Playing four-on-four or five-on-five, the goals are small. That’s where it came from.”
Brett recently reached 10 goals for the second-straight season for the USL’s Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC. The milestone came in the midst of a two-goal, one-assist performance in a 4-0 win against Ottawa Fury FC on August 30. The National Premier Soccer League alumnus owns 25 goals since signing with the Riverhounds last year.
The performance against Ottawa earned Brett USL Player of the Week honors for the third time in his career. Brett’s first goal of the match saw him evade a defender and slot a shot into the bottom-left corner of the net. His second came when he chased down a ball sent in by a teammate.
“I had no idea if he was trying to pass it to me or if he was trying to chip it,” Brett said. “But the ball wasn’t going into the net, so I made sure to follow up on the play and got the tap in.”
Brett has credited his goal-scoring run to his preparation and work with his coaches in Pittsburgh. He believes the part of his game that has improved most is his ability to put teammates in position in space to receive the ball and make runs that eventually result in scores.
His NPSL stint came in 2014, one of many stops that he believes has contributed to his success after coming stateside from Jamaica to Robert Morris University in 2012.
“It was very good,” Brett said. “The coaching staff, everyone, everything was good. My favorite moment was probably in the finals that we played against Michigan when I scored a free kick. We lost 2-1, but that was a really good game.”
Outside of being drafted to MLS and spending some time in the Portland Timbers organization, Brett has spent most of his time in the United States representing soccer teams in the city of Pittsburgh, a place he now calls home.
“I take a lot of pride in it because it’s my home away from home,” Brett said. “You always have to represent and give your very best when representing your home team.”
With nine games remaining in the USL regular season, Brett hopes to top his 15-goal scoring output from last season and push the Riverhounds up the Eastern Conference Standings. Pittsburgh currently sits in fifth place, just six points out of first.
Brett’s personal goal is to move up the ranks and make his return to the MLS or sign with a larger club abroad. But the NPSL alum isn’t done being one of the most prolific scorers in the USL quite yet.
“I feel like all the hard work that I’ve put in, it’s just paying off right now,” Brett said.
Photo Credit: Riverhounds SC