Brown looks to the future

It's a long path that now sees Tim Brown plying his trade for the Wellington Phoenix in the Hyundai A-League.

It's a long and well travelled path that now sees Tim Brown plying his trade for the Wellington Phoenix in the Hyundai A-League.

Born in England and raised in New Zealand, the 27-year-old is a player whose career has seen him honing his craft in the United States, Australia, and of course, New Zealand.

Joining the Wellington Phoenix in 2007 completed a fairytale homecoming for the All Whites vice captain. A proud Wellingtonian, he played some of his club football for Miramar Rangers before heading to the United States to pursue his footballing dreams while also completing a design degree at the University of Cincinnati.

Upon finishing his studies, Brown chose to stay in the US in an attempt to forge a career in the MLS. He subsequently spent two seasons at the Richmond Kickers before looking closer to home to forward his career. The Newcastle Jets signed the combative midfielder in 2006/07, where Brown rose to prominence with a series of solid and industrious performances.

The central midfielder had impressed at the Jets, and had signed a two-year contract just weeks before the formation of the Wellington Phoenix was announced.

"I had signed a two-year deal with the Newcastle Jets when I found out the Phoenix had secured a spot in the competition," Brown said.

However, the lure of professional football in his home town was a strong one, and fortunately for Brown, the Jets' coaching staff realised his strong desire to return to his native New Zealand.

"The importance to me of returning home to Wellington to play professional football and to play for Ricki Herbert and many of my All Whites team-mates in a professional environment was huge. It was good of Newcastle to let me leave," Brown added.

Brown is known as a midfielder that likes to push forward when opportunities are presented. This was well illustrated with an outstanding performance against Sydney FC in the Hyundai A-League recently, which he capped off with a goal.

"It was an important win and certainly one of the highlights for me since I've been with the Phoenix. But it's also important to acknowledge that we've got 15 matches to go and that every match in this competition is important," Brown said.

Brown is regarded as being a natural leader, and is the current All Whites vice captain under national coach and Phoenix coach Herbert. He also regards playing for the All Whites as one of his main career highlights.

"Playing for New Zealand and captaining the side for the first time when we drew 2-2 with Wales in Wrexham is my career highlight so far," Brown said.

"That was a huge honour and a pretty special occasion given that I only found out I would be captain on the morning of the game."

Brown is also a key member of the All Whites squad that is gunning for their first World Cup finals spot since 1982. The New Zealanders are only two matches away from achieving their place, and Brown is relishing the challenge.

"It's tremendous and a huge thing for me personally. We'll be the underdogs whoever we play in the final home and away qualifying matches but we're only 180 minutes of football away from going to South Africa," he said.

Despite Brown's impressive performances in the A-League with both Newcastle and Wellington, he has struggled with injuries during his stints at both clubs and believes that he has plenty more to show the fans once he is able to keep himself fit.

"It has been a pretty miserable 12 months for me but I'm now at the stage where I've never felt fitter and healthier," Brown said.

"Hopefully that will be reflected in my performances. Being fully fit means that I can put the work in, which is nice after having struggled through training sessions for much of last season."

If Brown can keep himself fit, and continue to produce the kind of performances for which he has become accustomed to, the Phoenix can certainly hope that their fortunes will change in their second season in the Hyundai A-League.

"Yes, we can push for the top four. We've got a quality squad and the confidence is certainly building," Brown added.