BRADENTON, Fla. – With one professional year under his belt, it’s clear that New England Revolution defender Brandon Bye is ready to take on this coming season.
The former Revs rookie who was the club’s first pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft (8th overall) impressed in his first season and his stats speak for themselves, as he registered 24 appearances, 16 starts and 1,470 total minutes for New England.
With Bye setting the bar high in his rookie year, the expectations for the 23-year-old are even bigger heading into 2019.
“He knows the expectations, and we expect a lot from him,” said head coach Brad Friedel. “If you look at Brandon last year from day one to now, there’s an enormous development, so I’m very, very happy with the progress that he’s made and I think the 20-plus games he got last year did a world of good for him.”
Friedel is not the only person to notice the benefits to Bye’s first-year minutes, as his teammates can attest to the development the Michigan native has made in such a short period of time.
“He was great for us in his rookie year,” said Teal Bunbury. “I think he’s evolved as a player and as a person.
“He came in so far in this preseason, and he’s been excellent so I think to his credit he works hard every day. He’s always trying to learn, always asking questions, so he’s got a great attitude so I think that’s going to take him far.”
Bye has proven he’s never shy to take on new challenges and opportunities with this positive attitude. The outside back showed a versatility factor as he stepped up to play both at right back and left back position throughout last season, particularly on the left side after retired Revolution defender, Chris Tierney suffered an ACL injury.
“I had a lot of minutes my first year, and I grew from that,” said Bye.
“Playing right back, playing left back, playing throughout the season in big games in a lot of matches, I felt like I just got more comfortable being on the field – trying to figure out exactly what to do with the ball, how to shift with the back line, I feel like I’ve gotten comfortable back there.”
The growth Bye has endured is noticeable both on and off the field, especially as he comes into his second professional season.
“He’s always fit in really well,” said Jalil Anibaba, who often plays alongside Bye on the backline. “He has a mellow confidence to him and that was evident from day one, really. As far as who he is in the locker room, everyone has a lot of respect for him.”
Bye's contagious positive attitude and desire to learn is propelling him heading into his second season.
“He’s the type of guy that everyone loves to be around,” said Anibaba. “He wants to learn, he wants to get better and when you have that type of attitude and professionalism, there’s no limit on how high you can go.”