02/21/06 — Chris Brown signs with Barton soccer

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Chris Brown signs with Barton soccer

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on February 21, 2006 2:19 PM

Like many young athletes, Eastern Wayne's Chris Brown found soccer to be the ideal fall sport to keep him in shape for playing baseball.

But, next fall, soccer will no longer be his secondary sport as the senior midfielder/defender will take his game to the next level to compete for Division II Barton College in Wilson.

Brown started realizing in the middle of his senior year that he wanted to give college soccer a try, and Eastern Wayne coach Jörg Wagner advised him to contact the school of his choice. Brown said he chose Barton due to its small-school atmosphere and its physical therapy and sports medicine program.

"I called coach (Gary) Hall and we talked about what I wanted, then I went to a tryout and showed well," he said. "He made out the roster on Feb. 1, and I made it."

Brown's biggest strides came during his junior year as Wagner made the decision to move Brown from defensive midfield back to the left, marking fullback where he would be matched up against most team's top offensive threat. Similar to a shut-down cornerback in football, Brown was up to the task in the playoffs that year and continued to be a solid defensive stalwart as a senior for the Warriors.

He hopes to continue that role at Barton, but may have to move back to midfield due to being undersized for a college defender.

"My size is going against me, but I play physical enough to play in the back. He (Hall) said he would use me wherever is needed," Brown said.

Wagner believes Barton is a good fit for the two-year starter.

"I think it's a perfect fit for him. He'll get a chance to play for a starting job eventually," he said. "They are getting a player they can mold, that is coachable with good athletic ability and toughness."

In 13 seasons at Eastern Wayne, Wagner has now sent 12 total players -- including girls and boys -- to play in the collegiate ranks. Brown is obviously pleased to be the next in that line of athletes.

"It's an honor to me. The players that have went on from here, it's an honor to be in that group," Brown said. "I don't have the same skills as they do, but I think I have the work ethic."

At Barton, Brown will join former Warrior, Scott Summers, who led the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Association in goals last year with 11. The Bulldogs (5-14 overall) finished with a 4-6 mark in the CVAC last year and fell in the first-round of the conference tournament at Queens.