FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It may seem like a long time since the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, but it was a very important day for one New England Revolution player, as defender Brandon Bye was drafted to begin his professional journey.
Now, two years later and with a pair of professional seasons under his belt, the Revs have re-signed Bye to a new contract heading into 2020.
The 23-year-old has come a long way since being the Revs’ top SuperDraft pick (8th overall) leading into his rookie season.
“It’s definitely exceeded my expectations,” Bye said as he reflected on the journey since hearing his name called for New England at the draft. “I’ve believed in myself after I got drafted, but knowing that I’ve played a good amount of minutes in my first two years in the league [is important]. I’m just excited for what’s to come and what I can do to grow as a player and as a person.”
The minutes Bye has racked up speak for themselves throughout his first two years with the Revolution.
In his rookie season, Bye totaled 24 appearances and 16 starts. It didn’t take long for the Michigan native to become a full-fledged feature in the starting XI by year two, totaling 30 starts/appearances in the 2019 campaign, including starting every game under head coach Bruce Arena. Bye even ranked second in minutes played for the team in his second year with 2,657 total, which is directly behind captain Carles Gil (3,052 minutes).
Throughout that playing time Bye seized every opportunity to develop his professional skills. He featured primarily as a right back, but also saw minutes as a left back, center back and right winger.
No matter where he played, Bye always looked to use it as an opportunity to sharpen his abilities.
“[I’ve learned] getting ahold of playing the defensive part of outside back at this level,” said Bye, who played primarily as a midfielder throughout his college career at Western Michigan.
“Getting ahold of the speed of this level, as well. In MLS, it’s definitely faster than in college or any other level that you’ve played at before, so just understanding the speed of the game and moving forward and trying to learn on the fly as much as possible.”
While Bye has learned a lot professionally with the Revs, he’s also personally established a connection to New England and the region's loyal supporters.
“I’d say one of those special moments was our last home game of the year in front of the fans,” Bye said, recalling one of his favorite memories with the team. “Beating New York City [FC] on our field in the way that we did was really special. It was a special end of the season for me.”
Bye is already looking to 2020 and what the next year will bring at Gillette Stadium.
“My team goals [are] getting back into the playoffs, [and] making noise in the playoffs,” said Bye. “That’s one that is really big for me – along with just growing every day and trying to influence and help the team as much as possible.
“Knowing that the coaching staff had the belief in me to re-sign me and they wanted me back, I’m thankful for that. I’m excited to see what 2020 holds.”