Maryland men’s soccer coach Sasho Cirovski was sitting with his staff looking at various transfer options this spring when a familiar name popped up on the screen.
“Hey, Luke Brown, you remember him? He’s on the portal,” Cirovski recalled one of his assistants telling him. Surely enough, he did.
“We played against him twice, so we knew him quite well,” Cirovski said. “We felt that he was the right fit.”
Maryland men’s soccer had lots of roster turnover after a 2018 campaign that saw them win a national championship. Perhaps even more than was expected.
The losses of Chase Gasper, Dayne St. Clair and Donovan Pines, among others left the Terrapins looking to build back a squad capable of attacking another title, and that included a look through the transfer portal.
The staff was searching for a way to bolster its lineup, but without overhauling it. Brown, a three-time All-CAA player, had just happened to enter his name in the transfer portal late in the spring. Cirovski’s staff went to visit him in New York within a few days of seeing his name in the portal, and the rest was history.
After agreeing to transfer to Maryland, Brown made the trip down to College Park where he began playing pick-up games and training with his new teammates — a move that helped build his case for being a team leader despite being new to the squad.
Putting in the extra work was actually the easy part, as learning Maryland’s style of play has been the toughest challenge. The Terps tend to play a more aggressive style of defense than Brown had been used to at Hofstra, but things are coming around.
“It’s been a big learning curve,” said Brown. “It’s been a lot more intense than I’m used to with how [Cirovski] and his coaches run training. But I think that it’s been a good challenge and to get up to the speed that’s expected here is going to make me and everyone else here better players.”
Junior Matt Di Rosa mentioned after practice Tuesday that Brown was doing well in adjusting to the system and how he fits into the puzzle. This season, Brown figures to be a prominent figure in the No. 10 role — attacking to score and passing the ball to create chances, as well as helping back on defense in a central midfield role.
With the loss of senior winger Paul Bin to an ACL tear, Brown’s arrival and hard work became a blessing in disguise to the staff as they still have an aggressive player with experience and leadership qualities.
“Luke knows the intricacies of being an attacking player within the top level of Division I soccer,” Cirovski said. “I think once he really settles into our style, we’re going to see the best of Luke.”
Having played against Maryland twice, Brown also lends a hand to a true view of the program from the outside and plans to use its advantages to succeed in 2019.
“Having the crowd, it’s extremely intimidating coming to play for the other side,” Brown said. “It’ll be nice to have that on my side for once. But just the whole atmosphere here and how well [drawn] and run it is and professional it seemed playing against it; and then coming here, training, and seeing how it’s all set up, it’s easy to see why it was like that.”
And while the crowd may have been a lot to handle, Brown clearly made an impression on the Terps’ coaching staff. He’ll get to experience being on the Maryland side of things as the team open up its 2019 title defense on Thursday Aug. 29 against USF at Ludwig Field.