Lofty expectations come with the privilege of being a first-round pick. New England Revolution midfielder and former National Premier Soccer League standout Brandon Bye has been rock-steady so far in his first season since being taken eighth overall in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft.
The Western Michigan graduate has appeared in four matches in his debut season, starting once and recording four shots in his 140 minutes on the pitch. The playing time earlier this season was crucial to Bye’s confidence.
“Definitely valuable,” Bye said. “I obviously enjoyed playing, but every day is learning something new from my teammates and the coaching staff. I feel like if I’m playing, if I’m not playing, I’m learning. I enjoyed playing those games and I gained confidence from it, absolutely.”
Bye’s NPSL career spanned three teams over three summers. The Michigan native spent time with Grand Rapids FC, Kalamazoo FC and even Minneapolis City FC while in town for a summer internship.
“It definitely prepared me,” Bye said. “Obviously during the summer, you want to stay sharp and you want to get games in. But along with that you want to manage your body. I feel like the league and the teams understood that and it was nice to play in the summer and I enjoyed playing in the league.”
What Bye loved most about his time in the NPSL was playing for his hometown Kalamazoo FC. He also looks back fondly in his time in Minneapolis. They treated him like family up north.
One of the most decorated Broncos in Western Michigan soccer history, Bye left college fourth in single season goals with 12 and sixth all-time in career goals with 22. He was just the second-ever WMU graduate to be drafted. The winger has now settled into more of a defensive role with the Revs.
“I feel good about it,” Bye said. “I played both defense and offense in my college and NPSL career, so I think when they throw me in I’m adjusting to it. Obviously, it’s adjustment just like anything, but I feel like it’s going well so far.”
Making another adjustment to the culture of MLS is a rite of passage for each and every rookie that makes his way to the league. Bye has had to make a new home in a new region while coming into a new locker room. He’s also had to adapt to the speed of the MLS game.
He feels that he’s adjusted well in his short time as an MLS player. He’s been away from his family in Michigan. During Saturday night’s match in Ohio against Columbus Crew SC, Bye’s family drove to see him play in person.
The rookie defender entered the match during stoppage time and helped to prevent a Columbus goal and preserved a 2-2 draw for the Revs. It was another passed test for Bye, and he hopes to build on it.
“I just want to learn every day,” Bye said. “From the coaching staff and my teammates. Just to learn and just to gain knowledge about the game. How we want to play and obviously help my team in any way possible.”
Jeff Helfrich / ISN Soccer – contributor
Photo Credit: Ken Tishenkel / ISNSoccer.com