PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Brandon Bye knew at five years old, when he first kicked a ball on a youth soccer field in Michigan, that he wanted to be a professional.
That dream was realized on Friday afternoon when the 22-year-old heard his name called by MLS Commissioner Don Garber at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the eighth overall pick at the MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas and the New England Revolution’s top selection.
Bye was a goal-scoring winger during a four-year career at Western Michigan University – he tallied 12 goals and seven assists as a senior in 2017 – but he featured as a right back at the MLS Combine, and it’s likely he’ll transition to right back at the professional level.
“I’ve talked to a lot of different coaching staffs, a lot of different people that are close to me, and they said my better position down the road is probably going to be outside back,” said Bye. “I enjoy it. I’m ready to go, ready to just put full effort in every day, every game.”
That versatility was a major selling point for the Revolution, who similarly selected winger-turned-right-back Mark Segbers with the ninth overall pick on Friday afternoon.
As a native of Michigan, Bye joked about his familiarity with the winter weather he’ll likely encounter when he arrives in New England ahead of preseason camp, which opens on Monday. But there will no doubt be an adjustment period as he transitions to the professional game – and as he continues to learn a new position – throughout the next few months.
That’s a challenge Bye is eager to tackle as he fully realizes his childhood dream.
“I’m just ready for the journey,” said Bye. “This isn’t the top, this isn’t the peak of it, but I’m ready to keep it going.”