David Browne is one of the most successful players born in the Pacific Islands, he was the first Papua New Guinea-born ever to play professionally in Europe for a first division team. Since 2020 the 27-year-old has been playing for HJK Helsingin, Finland’s biggest football club.
During these three seasons at HJK, this one has surely been the most special for Browne even though the year did not start in the best way for him as he was unable to play the World Cup qualifiers with Papua New Guinea due to a problem with his passport.
The season started with Browne switching roles in the team from winger to wing back – sometimes also playing on the left – in a three-back formation.
David Browne’s first goal of the season came in a 4-1 win against Haka in the eighth round of the Veikkausliiga.
After scoring twice more in the National League, Browne made history, becoming the first Papua New Guinean-born player to score a goal in a UEFA competition, and the third Pacific Islander to score a goal in UEFA competitions after Pascal Vahirua and Marama Vahirua – Browne scored a beautiful goal against Maribor to help HJK advance. In the next round he scored again in HJK’s crucial win over Silkeborg IF, that helped HJK reach the group stage of the Europa League.
In the group stage Browne collected good performances against Roma, Betis and Ludogorets even scoring against Roma – a goal later overturned due to VAR interference and also almost scoring against Roma at Olympic Stadium.
But the best was yet to come for David Browne, he achieved the peak of reaching 100 caps for HJK against FC Honka and two rounds later Browne scored the goal that gave HJK the 32nd Veikkausliiga title against FC Haka crowning a magnificent season for the Papua New Guinea star-player.