Minneapolis City SC’s Martin Brown earned a call-up to the Liberia national team for their upcoming Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier on June 9. Brown is relishing the opportunity, but admits it doesn’t come without nerves.
“(I’m) definitely nervous,” Browne said with a laugh. “It’s something I’ve watched since I was a kid and it’s a dream come true. The nerves are definitely there, but I’m excited and I’ve prepared for it.”
Given Brown’s budding soccer career, the preparation has clearly paid off. Browne played his collegiate soccer at West Carolina, where he finished ninth in school history in career points with 64, scoring them on 26 goals and 16 assists.
From there, Browne joined and captained the Minnesota TwinStars in 2013 and 2014. From there he joined the NPSL’s Minnesota United Reserves. Then Browne joined Minneapolis City SC in their inaugural season in 2016. Browne earned his first call-up to the Liberia National Team, but the friendly was later cancelled.
In 2017, Browne rejoined MPLS City, and received his second call-up. The call came after the Liberia association saw a highlight video of Browne.
“The second time around, I’m a lot more excited now,” Browne said. “I’ve played games in the NPSL and I’m healthier.”
Browne credits his time with the NPSL to helping him prepare for his next opportunity.
“It’s huge, I’m thankful to city for giving me another chance,” Browne said. “The NPSL is always very competitive, the guys around the league are all college guys or former pros so they all helped prepare me for this opportunity.”
And while Browne is excited for his call-up, his focus remains on his club.
“Martin has been very humble about his opportunity to play for his country,” Minneapolis City SC Sporting Director Jon Bisswurm said. “He will never tell you that he is excited because his focus is always team first, but when you speak to him about you can see it in his face that all of the long hours and hard work he has put in honing his skills have been rewarded and that is satisfying for him.”
Browne’s call-up is also exciting for Bisswurm.
“It’s huge,” Bisswurm said. “It’s not only just huge to the organization, it’s huge for the league.”
With such a big opportunity coming his way, Bisswurm admits he double and triple checked the original e-mail of Browne’s call-up.
“There was the initial shock of ‘wow this is awesome, but is it a real thing?’ and we did our due diligence to confirm it,” Bisswurm said. “It’s such a testament to the hard work Martin has put in and it’s such a cool thing for our fan base.”
Bisswurm added that he hopes to see Browne get some minutes in the qualifier and Bisswurm truly believes the midfielder is a top talent.
“Browne is one of the most composed center midfielders that I have seen come through at this level in some time,” Bisswurm said. “In addition his ability to control a match, he is extremely effective on dead-ball situations both to find a teammate in a scoring position, as well as his ability to find the back of then net when a foul is committed within his tremendous range which is invaluable.”
For now, however, Browne’s focus is solely on getting playing time.
“I’m looking to play, the opportunity is a blessing of itself, but I want to play,” Browne said. “Being on that stage I’m looking to get some minutes and make a difference for my country.”
Browne will look to get on the pitch for his home country on June 9 when Liberia faces off with Zimbabwe in Group G action of qualifying for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, with his international duty spanning from June 6-12.