By Ben Ferree/ISNSoccer.com
After a successful rookie season with the New England Revolution, Brandon Bye has become a mainstay in the starting lineup for 2019. Out of Western Michigan University, Bye was drafted eighth overall in 2018. Despite that, he finished the season third in minutes and appearances for rookies in MLS.
The versatile player has appeared in a variety of positions in his six starts this year, which speaks to manager Brad Friedel’s desire to keep him on the field. In a match against Minnesota United, Bye scored the game-winning goal in the 62nd minute to give the Revolution their first win of the season. Anyone who watched Bye in college wouldn’t be surprised that he can score goals. Bye found the back of the net 22 times for the Broncos, and added 19 assists as well.
Having already matched his goal total from his rookie campaign, Bye looks to keep improving, and reflects on his time in the NPSL as playing a large role in that.
“Being more comfortable, seeing different positions, I’ve played right back, left back, outside mid [this season]…comfortability is the main thing,” Bye said after a match against Columbus Crew SC. “The NPSL was a great league for me. I enjoyed it. I got confidence out of that league. It helped me grow for sure. Knowing that I could go there and play and get minutes and stay fresh for the college season…I enjoyed playing for three teams those three summers.”
Though he’s only played for one MLS team, Bye is a unique talent that played for three different NPSL teams. A Michigan native, Bye was born in Kalamazoo and grew up in Portage. He spent a season each with Grand Rapids FC and Kalamazoo FC. In his final season before going to MLS, Bye went to Minnesota for an internship and spent time with Minneapolis City SC. Bye’s work ethic and versatility show what made him the type of player that three NPSL teams would want on their roster. Be it in the midfield or in the defense, Bye is never afraid to work hard and do what coach’s ask of him. Not many college players would look for an internship in a different state and still find time to play competitive soccer. But Bye knew there was an opportunity to continue to hone his craft in the NPSL, and he took it.
“I was in Minneapolis for a Kellogg’s sales internship. Picking up with Minneapolis City, I enjoyed that time for sure,” Bye said with a smile. “Ate some cereal, enjoyed the city. Everyone was great up there, I still stay in contact with the guys.”
His favorite cereal? “Frosted Flakes. Stick with an original,” Bye said.
Through his travels playing soccer at a variety of levels, Bye has gotten a first-hand look at how soccer has grown and developed in America.
“Each team had their unique spin on how they wanted to go about their business,” Bye said, “I enjoyed soccer at each city I went to…I’ve seen [soccer] grow. When I was eight, nine, ten years old, going to a Kalamazoo Outrage game…I’ve seen it grow. There’s so many ways for kids to come up and watch soccer and be introduced to soccer, not just in the college form, but in those leagues. It helps grow the sport for everybody.”
Photo Credit: Ken Tishenkel/ISNSoccer.com