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Neco Brett, Hounds’ leading scorer in 2018 & 2019, signs with Birmingham

Neco Brett, Hounds’ leading scorer in 2018 & 2019, signs with Birmingham

After the two most productive seasons of his professional career with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, in the same city where he excelled as a collegian at Robert Morris University, Neco Brett is now moving on, as the Birmingham Legion FC announced the signing of the Jamaican striker on Tuesday.

With the Hounds opting to exercise contract options for forwards Steevan Dos Santos, who’s partnership with Brett at the top of the attack was very fruitful and productive, and Mark Forrest, and with Brett becoming a free agent, the Hounds would have to bid against other teams to keep Brett in Pittsburgh.

Brett scored 32 goals and added 17 assists in 70 games the past two seasons. He was named USL Championship Player of the Week three times in two years and made the 2019 USL Championship All-League Second Team while helping earn PIT the USL Eastern Conference Regular Season Championship.

Brett book-ended his career with the Hounds with big performances — and was steady as a rock as the team’s most consistent finisher throughout the past two seasons.

It was in his first-ever start, Brett scored three goals in Pittsburgh’s win against Toronto FC II in April 2018.

Brett led the Hounds with 15 goals in its turnaround season in 2018, and last off season, after the Hounds exercised his contract option, Head Coach Bob Lilley challenged him to take his game to another level. The 26-year old responded with an even more impressive season, scoring goals in big moments against the toughest competition, scoring 17 goals and adding five assists.

“Neco brings a proven goal-scoring ability to Birmingham to help boost an area we’re focused on improving,”Legion FC President and General Manager Jay Heaps through a team release on Tuesday.

Riverhounds Head Coach Bob Lilley said to Pittsburgh Soccer Now last week, he’s put some offers out there for a few proven players that could slide in as candidates replace Brett’s role in scoring and being part of a partnership at the top of the attack with Dos Santos, Forrest and the attacking midfielders. Lilley said he will continue to ‘cast nets out there’ and feels that as long as he’s persistent, will be able to land a comparable player, at the price he wants.

Riverhounds SC Notebook: Lilley on tryouts, free agency, off season roster building

It might be hard to pick out a favorite Neco Brett goal, so we’ve found this video where you can see them all.

MEMORABLE NECO BRETT MOMENTS IN PITTSBURGH

Since Birmingham couldn’t stop Brett in October’s playoff match at Highmark Stadium, as he scored a club record-breaking four goals en route to Pittsburgh’s dominant 7-0 victory, they went out and signed him.

Brett basks in record-breaking four-goal performance

But it may have been at Ottawa this year, when Brett’s partnership with forward Steevan Dos Santos completely dismantled a desperate Ottawa club playing for its playoff lives. Brett scored twice and had an assist.

With that performance, Brett earned USL Championship Player of the Week honors for the third time in two seasons in Pittsburgh.

PITTSBURGH SOCCER NOW’s NECO BRETT PHOTO GALLERY 

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John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets including Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the United States. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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