Ethan Brown reflects on journey as he signs professional deal

Teenager Ethan Brown has penned his first professional deal at Kilmarnock.

The 18-year-old centre-back has signed a contract until the summer of 2025.

The Canadian starlet, a product of MLS side Orlando City’s youth academy before joining Kilmarnock’s, has had a less than simple route to Rugby Park, but he’s delighted to finally get a deal done: “I am feeling great, it has been a long time coming, I am excited for it.

“For sure my ambition is to run out with the first team, that has always been the plan. 

“The team has been doing so well this season, it has been great to be a part of it even before I signed the contract. 

“I now just need to continue growing and get advice off the boys and help as much as I can this season.”

On his journey, Brown explained: “I grew up in Florida, I am from Canada originally. 

“I played for Orlando City’s academy when I was younger then I made the jump to move over to Kilmarnock. 

“I played here for about six months but there was a bit of problem getting my clearance because I’m an international. 

“I left after half a season because it was hard being so far from home not playing any games. 

“I moved back to Canada to play in their Pro League, after I turned 18 I was eligible to come back to Kilmarnock so I got in touch with Clarkie [Craig Clark] and the club, they said I was alright to come back in for pre-season which was an easy choice for me and my family. 

“I always wanted to play in Europe and get that opportunity to grow as a player and a person. 

“Kilmarnock have helped me not just on the field, but off the field, moving away from home this is such a family-oriented club and they have done a lot for me so far.”

He continued: “After leaving I was super grateful that the club kept me in mind and allowed me to come back. 

“They were very understanding when I told them I was going to play in Canada for a while, when I turned 18 I was delighted when they said I could come over for pre-season. 

“They said I could join the first team for training which was a huge step for me, getting that experience has help me progress and now I’m training with the first team every day. 

“There are a lot of experienced professionals here, that has helped massively, training in that kind of environment with seasoned professionals. 

“They are so helpful, allowing me to grow and giving me advice, it has been a huge help so far.”

Brown had a spell on loan at West of Scotland League Cumnock earlier this season: “It was a good experience at Cumnock, getting used to that side of football and toughening up. 

“Coming over from North American football to Scottish football, it’s a bit different, in terms of it’s quite rough and that side of the game I needed to work on. 

“I think that loan spell has helped me massively, the guys at Cumnock helped me improve my game and add something that wasn’t there before.”

Kilmarnock’s first team technical coach, Craig Clark said: “I am delighted for Ethan, it has been a long time coming for him.

“He’s had a different pathway that players would normally go through.

“Between his positive loan spell at Cumnock and training with the first team he has progressed into a good, solid centre-back.

“He came in as a ball-playing defender and we’ve added that bit of steel to his game, he is deserving of his pro deal.”

Clark continued: “There is good talent in the academy, we’ve always had a strong pathway that we’ve been proud of, we can help that transition from academy into the first team hopefully.

“Now the next step is to see if he can cross that white line and pull on the blue and white stripes for the first team.”