Young footballers make provincial Under 12 squad
Whiteway teen named to under-12 provincial soccer squad
Dillon Brown and Damian Laundry are a pair of talented young athletes making some waves on the provincial soccer scene. In July, the pair will be travelling to Montreal with the Team NL under-12 group for a national competition. The Compass caught up with them last week.
Dillon Brown’s first soccer ball doesn’t resemble much of one these days.
Missing the majority of its plastic outer shell, it’s thread underbody is torn in places and the inner ball has popped.
The boy from Whiteway doesn’t know for sure how many times he’s booted that ball around the backyard, but he figures it’s easily in the thousands.
“As long as I can remember if there was a ball around, I was kicking the ball,” said the 12-year-old, who was named last summer to the provincial under-12 team.
It’s one of 30 balls Brown has in his possession. It was purchased at the local Wal-Mart just after his first practice just under a decade ago.
That ball and a homemade goal helped spark something inside the youngster. Since then, The Beautiful Game has been his sport of choice and soccer balls started taking up more and more space at the family home.
“I’ve got a Chelsea ball and a bunch of Adidas and Nike balls,” said Brown when he spoke with The Compass last week.
“It’s only a replica of one, but I have a 2014 FIFA World Cup and a nice couple of other ones.”
He enjoys watching Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Lionel Messi when he gets the chance. Brown never missed a game for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and he prefers to watch the Chelea Blues or Manchester Red Devils.
“I like both of the teams,” he said.
This soccer enthusiasm led him to start with the CBN minor association in Harbour Grace before moving to the St. John’s soccer association.
Next month, the provincial team will travel to Montreal for a national tournament.
“I’m really, really excited to get going,” said Brown.
“It was pretty cool to be invited.”
“(Dillon) said over and over, “I can’t believe I got selected,” added mom Leila.
A defensive mentality
In the first couple of practices with the provincial squad, Brown has been playing in the backfield as a defender.
That is until recently when coaches have moved him up front to the striker position. It’s a move that Brown is OK with. He’s a fan of either position. “I enjoy the striker position, but I think I’m better as a de- fender,” said Brown.
It’s the level of game thinking that goes into playing in the backfield that intrigues the young athlete.
Brown has spent plenty of time trying to make himself a better and more complete player.
A right-footed kicker by trade, he’s made incredible strides to ensure he can be a suitable kicker with his left foot as well.
Being able to go left is an area young athletes can struggle with, in part because it’s natural to go to your strong side.
After months of work, Brown believes he’s gotten immensely better with his left foot.
“Lately, I’ve been trying to kick with (the left foot) more and now, I can kick almost as good as my right foot.”
In Montreal, Brown and his teammates are slated take in a Montreal Impact FC match, while checking out other sites.
Of all that, there is one spot he is looking forward to hitting. It’s a sports store dedicated to soccer.
“I’m looking forward to getting some more soccer balls,” said Brown. “I don’t know how I’ll get them home though.”
“Lately, I’ve been trying to kick with (the left foot) more and now, I can kick almost as good as my right foot.” Dillon Brown
Whiteway’s Dillon Brown proudly displays his first soccer ball. The 12-year-old is a member of this province’s under-12 team.