The title of the first goal-scorer at the Temple Sports Complex, which opened in 2016, is still a topic of debate between men’s soccer teammates Zach Brown and Hermann Doerner.
Brown said he deserves the recognition because he scored first during Temple University’s home exhibition against Lafayette College two seasons ago. Doerner, on the other hand, said the title should belong to him because he netted the first goal of the 2016 regular season against Manhattan College.
“When we had our first game of the season here … everyone was hyped about it, and then I scored the first goal,” said Doerner, a senior midfielder. “He scored the goal in the exhibition game against Lafayette, which probably no one really knows about. So I basically scored the first goal.”
Despite Doerner’s argument, Brown stands by his accomplishment. Now, the junior midfielder maintains undisputed ownership of the first goal of the 2018 regular season and has stepped up as a leader off the field, too.
Brown’s goal in the 64th minute against Old Dominion University on Sept. 2 was the game-winner in a match where the Owls were playing down a man against the then-No. 25 team in the United Soccer Coaches poll.
“In that game, a man down, he covered a lot of ground for the group and broke up a lot of plays,” assistant coach Armante’ Marshall said. “As much as a player as he was defensively in that game, to see him get on the end of the goal was exciting.”
But his post-goal celebration did not live up to his teammates’ standards.
In an effort to redeem himself, Brown rehearsed a celebration after scoring in a shooting drill at the end of practice on Friday. After the ball rolled in the net, Brown ran back to his place in line, arms spread wide. He then jumped in the air and pumped his fist as his teammates egged him on.
Brown’s energy and excitement for the game are part of what makes him an effective team leader both on and off the field, Doerner said.
“I’m a loud voice on the field, and I think when our team is amped up, that’s when we’re at our best,” Brown said. “I like to get the players going, so I guess my energy is probably the biggest part about it.”
In the locker room, Brown is a member of the team’s leadership group, a collection of four to five players who lead the team in communication and decision-making.
“He has an important voice into the locker room,” Doerner said. “As a captain, I also come to him and ask him for his opinion and he helps the team.”
While on the field, Brown standing at 6 feet, 3 inches tall, helps Temple earn and keep possession, which is an aspect of coach Brian Rowland’s attack-heavy style of play. Brown’s technical skills and passing ability make him a valuable midfielder, Marshall said.
In addition to Brown’s soccer skills and experience as one of 12 returning players on the roster this season, Marshall also said the intangible elements of Brown’s game are part of the reason he has started all five games and remained on the field for every minute Temple has played this season.
“We talk about two things you can control, which is your attitude and your effort,” Marshall said. “Ultimately, you know that even if the passes aren’t going or connecting the way he wants them to, he’s going to give maximum effort and a great attitude every time. So he always has a place on the field around here.”