Pacific’s Jordan Brown On His Full-Circle Return To CPL
English striker Jordan Brown is what you’d call a CPL history-maker: not only had he scored the first goal in Cavalry FC history, but his individual effort against the Whitecaps also helped propel the club to a historic win over Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps.
His departure after two years saw him test himself back in European waters before former Cavalry executive Rob Jenkins lured him back to Canada with Electric City FC. After things got a bit derailed there, he secured a move to reigning CPL champions Pacific FC last month as a replacement to the league’s golden boot leader.
In short, it’s been quite an adventure for the 25-year-old striker. Now that he’s settled out west and in the midst of Pacific’s playoff push, it’s time to expand on it.
On His Time Abroad
Two seasons with Cavalry FC saw Brown depart with eight goals and forty-two appearances to his name, with the former West Ham Academy product ultimately signing with German fourth division side VfR Aalen. He planned to rise through the ranks of the German lower divisions, but found himself entering a club situation that didn’t match the picture he was sold upon.
“As a player, it’s hard to do your research a club that’s in a foreign country with a foreign language, to be honest,” he said. “You need to go there before you sign, which I did, but the first couple months compared to my last were different – you never really know until you’re in it.”
It wasn’t long after he first arrived when Pacific FC actually first made contact, and he even had a clause in his terms that would allow him to leave before a particular deadline. There was still a lot of uncertainty with COVID in January 2021, however, and after playing a bubbled campaign the season prior he thought it was best he continued playing elsewhere.
“I felt like I was doing the right thing by continuing to play, but it just didn’t end up working out. By the time I knew that, I couldn’t go back to Pacific because they already signed international players. So that’s when I wanted to leave, and I had a friend who played in Iceland, and I ended up going out there.”
After mutually terminating his contract with the German side in March, Brown moved to Icelandic side Fylkir. His time in the Nordic country was short, but saw him make thirteen appearances before another route to Canada took place through a familiar face from an unexpected place.
Electric City FC
The English striker was revealed as a coup signing by League1 Ontario expansion side Electric City FC this year, who had also sparked ambitious plans to put in a CPL bid in a few years time. Their recruitment was top notch, with former Cavalry FC executive Rob Jenkins helping secure players like Jordan Brown, Quillan Roberts, and Zach Ellis-Hayden – two others whom Jordan believes can step seamlessly into CPL.
The English striker proved to be a force in Ontario’s pro-am league, bagging eleven goals and five assists in just seventeen appearances, fifteen of which were starts. The club had turbulent moments, however, with Electric City FC sacking their head coach after just four games and, later, quietly canning Rob Jenkins too. Jenkins was a big factor in Brown trusting the club, and the way things were handled left a bad taste in his mouth. His move to Pacific came not long after.
While Electric City FC ended up echoing his time in Germany in terms of expectations and reality, the striker was left with a positive impression about League1 Ontario’s talent level, where he says there are many athletes just as fit and skillful as you’d see in the CPL, with most being perhaps a bit raw or without the tactical acumen you’d see at the higher level.
“I’ve seen a lot of young players who’ve never been pro before, who can definitely be on a squad in a CPL team. It’s just about them finding the right connections and speaking to the right people, to be honest,” he says.
Elaborating further, he says that from what he’s seen FC Edmonton isn’t too much different than the top team in League1 Ontario, while also stating that the top CPL team isn’t much different than a bottom MLS side.
He becomes the second ECFC player to secure a move to Canada’s top flight, with Eleias Himaras impressing as a late season fill-in for Brown’s former Cavalry teammate Niko Giantsopoulos, who is now with York United.
“Thank you to Electric City for this season – I wish them all the best for the future. I wish more eyes would be on all the players I played with this season, there’s a lot of people who are good enough to be in a CPL roster. Hopefully, this is the door open that they needed.”
On Pacific FC
Brown’s deal with Pacific FC runs through to the end of next season, with a club option for a further year. The faith in him shown by the club offers a level of trust that he’s keen to repay, and he’s confident that the playstyle put forth by James Merriman’s side matches his own perfectly.
“I think this style of play fits me to a tee. If you watch any games that Electric City have played this year, you see how alike it is. Diaz was similar – I’ll be there to finish off the chances, and add to our gameplay was well, linking up with the guys and creating chances for other players as well.”
Brown arrived to Pacific FC with big shoes to fill: he replaced former Club America striker Alejandro Diaz in the roster, who still remains the league’s golden boot leader despite being sold to Sogndal Fotball a month ago.
“I think he was really good,” said Brown of his predecessor. “He was a really tough player. I’m ready for that type of pressure. I’ve got full belief in myself and the players I’m playing with.”
Even before making his debut with Pacific, Brown was firm in his belief that he’s joining the side with the best wingers in the league, stating he was looking forward to making runs with the service he expects to see from the likes of Josh Heard and Marco Bustos.
“All I’ll have to do is just be in the right place at the right time to score goals. I’m not going to over-complicate things too much. I’m not thinking too much about it, to be honest. From my side of things, I don’t really see a big pressure on me, even if there is from the outside, you know? There’s no pressure in my head, I’ll just just do what I do best and I think I’ll succeed.”
The reigning champions have had a tough spell of results since selling Diaz, with the league spilling out into a five-horse race towards four playoff spots as the season winds down. With the club ending its Concacaf League run just prior to his arrival, the focus has been 100% on a return to league form so they can bounce back into a playoff position and complete their title defense.
For Brown, the return to Canadian Premier League circles represents a priceless value for the proven professional in terms of stability. After having felt misled by two clubs in just as many years since leaving the league, he now enters a familiar environment on a multi-year deal.
“As a player without that you’d be playing anxious with two months left to the season. At the end of the day, I have that confidence there where I know I have another year to fit in. I don’t think it’s going to take long to settle: I’ve been in different scenarios before here and in different styles of play.”
Signing for Pacific represents what he calls a ‘full circle’ moment, but how fans will remember his time in purple remains to be seen. Step one is securing a playoff position. As Brown said, he won’t overcomplicate things: his job is to score goals, and he’s confident they’ll come.
Fans who subscribe to his ongoing YouTube channel will also be happy to know that this will return once he’s fully settled out west, providing fans with good insight into the league, too – something that was in danger of dissipating after William Akio’s move to Ross County.
Jordan Brown and Pacific FC will be back in action next Monday against two-time champions Forge FC.