Whether it’s on the pitch or on a roster, Neco Brett knows an opening when he sees one.
Brett, one of the USL Championship’s most prolific goal scorers, believes he can bolster an area of need for New Mexico United in 2022. The 29-year-old Jamaican striker signed with United on Friday.
A good fit? Brett believes so.
“I think New Mexico just needed a goal scorer,” Brett said during a Zoom media conference. “They already had a lot of good players all around. They just needed a striker.”
Brett certainly qualifies. He scored a career-best 18 goals for Birmingham Legion FC last season (fifth best in the USLC) and ranks seventh on the league’s career list with 62 goals overall. Most of those goals (55) were accumulated over the past four seasons — two apiece with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Birmingham. Brett twice earned All-USL Championship second-team honors, including last season.
“Neco is a proven goal scorer in the league, with the added ability to bring others into the game with clever decisions around the goal,” first-year United head coach Zach Prince said. “This ability makes our attack unpredictable and difficult for the opponent to defend.”
Prince has stressed the importance of being more aggressive on the attack next season and Brett has the necessary credentials. He’s one of just two USLC players to rack up four goals in a playoff match, having done so for Pittsburgh in 2019.
United often struggled to finish last season, tying for 19th in the USLC with 44 goals scored. Chris Wehan accounted for 10 of those goals after rejoining the club in August.
No other NMU player scored more than five.
“I don’t know any of the players personally,” Brett said, “but Wehan is one of my favorite players. I look forward to getting together with them in the locker room and learning about everyone.”
Brett said he’s also looking forward to meeting New Mexico’s fans, who were a major factor in his decision to sign with United.
“I’ve heard they have amazing fans,” Brett said. “I watch a lot of games with all the teams in the league and New Mexico stands out. It’s a first-class atmosphere.”
Brett did Friday’s Zoom interview from his home in Jamaica and admitted there’s one difficult aspect to joining New Mexico United — altitude.
He laughed when asked about making the adjustment from sea level to Albuquerque’s 5,312 feet of elevation.
“Yes, I’ve got to get used to that,” Brett said. “I’ll just need a little bit of time and I should be good.”