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USL: Albania club buys Jamaican forward Brian Brown from Reno 1868 FC

Brown is coming off playing in the Gold Cup with the Reggae Boyz. He was leading Reno in scoring with eight goals.

Jamaica's Brian Brown dribbles around U.S. midfielder Cristian Roldan on June 5, 2019 during a friendly at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. (Mitchell Northam / Pro Soccer USA)

Reno 1868 FC has a hole to fill in its attack after completing a transfer this week that sent one of its forwards to a club in Albania.

The USL Championship side announced Friday that FK Partizani, of the Albania Superliga, had purchased Jamaican forward Brian Brown. No terms of the transfer were disclosed. He is Reno’s all-time leading scorer with 28 goals since the club’s inaugural season in 2017.

“We are thrilled to help Brian on his journey and reach a new level of football,” Reno 1868 FC president Eric Edelstein said in a statement. “As a club, we believe it is vital to help players showcase their talents and assist them in playing at the highest levels they can achieve. With Brian’s departure, we will continue to seek the best of the next generation to play in Reno. We wish Brian and his family the very best and will stay focused on the growth and development of our squad.”

Brown, 26, had tallied eight goals and five assists in 11 appearances for Reno this season. He ranked in the top 10 in the USL Championship in both statistics. A season ago, the club named Brown its MVP.

After beginning his professional career in 2012 with a club in his native country, Brown has played for teams in the U.S. since 2014, when he was loaned to the Philadelphia Union of MLS. Brown has also played for the Indy Eleven and the Charlotte Independence. He has a total of 34 goals and 19 assists in USL play since 2016.

“I think Brian is a great player, he’s been doing great in the USL,” Brown’s Jamaica national team teammate Andre Blake told Pro Soccer USA recently. “Hopefully he can keep working hard and not get comfortable and keep developing. For him, the sky is the limit.”

Brown recently spent time with the Jamaica national team, featuring for the Reggae Boyz in the Gold Cup and in friendlies leading up to the Concacaf tournament. Brown started twice in the Gold Cup, appeared in another game and notched an assist. In all, he has six caps with the Reggae Boyz.

“Brian contributes to this team. We saw him against a Costa Rica team (on March 26) and we saw him against a U.S. team (on June 5),” Reggae Boyz coach Theodore Whitmore said. “Not to take anything from him – I think he’s great – but the more he plays, the more he finds out what the team needs from him and what he can offer to the team. He’s been brilliant.”

Brown was one of eight USL players to suit up for Jamaica in the Gold Cup. The Reggae Boyz advanced to the semifinals, where they lost 2-1 to the U.S. earlier this week.

“For them to be on our national team and to start, that says it all about the quality of that league,” Whitmore said. “They must be doing something right. They must be doing something in the league. So, kudos to (the USL).”

FK Partizani is in first place in the Albanian Superliga table and are its reigning champs. It has qualified for five straight UEFA Europa Leagues, and qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the upcoming cycle. Across two legs beginning on July 10, Partizani will face Qarabag of Azerbaijan in first round qualifying for Champions League.

Former MLS midfielder and New Jersey native Dilly Duka appeared in nine games with the club this season, but is listed on TransferMarkt.com as being out of a contract as of July 1.

Brown was leading Reno this season in both goals and assists. The club is second in the Western Conference table with a 9-4-5 record and a plus-13 goal differential. Reno has four wins in its last five games.

American forward Corey Hertzog also has eight goals this season for Reno, in addition to four assists. Reno’s offense will need more from him as it marches on without Brown.

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