Assistant Coach C.J. Brown joined training with the New York Red Bulls for the first time on Wednesday.
Brown, a native of Eugene, Oregon, enjoyed a 13-year professional career, including 10 seasons alongside Armas with the Chicago Fire. Both were part of the inaugural Fire team that won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and MLS Cup in 1998, and went on to win a Supporters’ Shield and three more U.S. Open Cups as teammates.
"He fits in with the values and fits in here, so that’s one of the boxes," Head Coach Chris Armas said following training on Wednesday. "He has some good experiences in the league, some different experiences than I’ve had in the league. C.J. is a worker, which is important around here. He’s a grinder and a worker. I think he’s got a good way with people and I think that’s important. He’s a teacher. I think people who know CJ Brown know that he’s a winner. He’s a competitor. Any time you can add someone that has that pedigree of understanding what it takes."
Brown’s time in Chicago included two seasons during Denis Hamlett’s head coaching tenure in 2008 and 2009. Hamlett was also an assistant with the Fire from 1998 through 2007. Brown was the seventh member of Chicago’s Ring of Fire, and the third player inducted. After retiring, the center back immediately transitioned into coaching, including stints with Real Salt Lake, the Chicago Fire, New York City FC, and Orlando City SC.
"The last important quality, maybe his best -- especially to come here and to learn a different philosophy -- that he’s been exposed to, is that he’s open," Armas said. "He’s humble and he’s open and I think that’s going to be important because he’s going to be quick, a lot thrown at him early to get to speed. At which how we do things the man is tactically with all of it, so we’re thrilled to have C.J. here.”