Born: November 18, 1898
Died: September 17, 1970
David R. Brown was born November 18, 1898 in East Newark and grew up in Kearny. The son of Scottish immigrants, Davey grew up in the vibrant sandlot soccer scene of Harrison, Kearny and East Newark. Though just over five feet tall, he was a strong and physical player.
As a teenager he earned a reputation as a talented goal-scorer and by age 18 he was a member of West Hudson AC, which played its games in the old Federal League baseball stadium in Harrison. In 1919, he joined Bethlehem Steel FC on a tour of Scandinavia and, a year later, signed on with a St. Louis club for a tour of Europe.
In 1924, Davey was signed by the New York Giants of the American Soccer League. He had actually played for the same club when it was located in Paterson in the years after World War I. Davey played 213 matches for the Giants—and served as team captain—between 1924–25 and 1929–30 and scored 164 goals. In 1926–27, he netted an ASL-record 52 goals in 38 games for the Giants, including 21 in the month of October alone.
A year earlier he had appeared in three games (all against Canada) for the U.S. national team, scoring four times. He would have been a key member of Team USA at the inaugural World Cup in 1930, but an injury kept him off the roster. America finished third, and might have contended for the title had Davey been available.
In the late 1920s, with soccer on the verge of become a mainstream American sport, the American Soccer League and the U.S. Football Association engaged in a death struggle for control of the game. Davey, now in his 30s, played for several clubs in Brooklyn and New York and continued to be a prolific scorer. His final game as a pro was in 1935.
In 1951, Davey was enshrined in the National Soccer Hall of Fame. He was a member of the hall’s second class, entering with Harold Brittan, William Fryer, Johnny McGuire, Pete Renzulli and Thomas Swords. Davey was a familiar face at soccer games in Kearny in the 1950s and 1960s. He called Kearny home his entire life and died there in 1970 and the age of 71.
Davey's children and grandchildren all played soccer, but the apple fell closest to the tree in the following generation. His great-grandson, Ethan Decker (left),was a prep standout at Pennington for coach Chad Bridges and fielded several scholarship offers from top NCAA programs before selecting UConn. The 5'11" forward blossomed during his sophomore year in 2014 and later transferred to Rutgers. He began his pro career in 2018 in the United Soccer league.