Seattle University defender Kyle Bjornethun (6), a graduate of Glacier Peak High School, was selected by the Seattle Sounders in the fourth round of the MLS SuperDraft. (Seattle University)

Seattle University defender Kyle Bjornethun (6), a graduate of Glacier Peak High School, was selected by the Seattle Sounders in the fourth round of the MLS SuperDraft. (Seattle University)

Sounders give Glacier Peak grad chance to play in MLS

In the weeks before the Major League Soccer SuperDraft, Glacier Peak High School graduate Kyle Bjornethun and his father discussed the possibilities.

“I told my dad that I don’t care if I’m the last pick in the MLS draft, I just want a chance to get into camp,” Bjornethun recalled. “I want a shot to prove myself.”

The 2013 Glacier Peak alum, a four-year starter at Seattle University, will get that shot. And as it turned out, he was indeed the last pick in the draft, going at the tail end of the fourth and final round to the hometown Seattle Sounders, the 2016 MLS champions.

“I’m ready for a new chapter in my life and in my soccer career, and I was ready to go anywhere,” said the 21-year-old Bjornethun, a 5-foot-11, 160-pound defender. “But I grew up in Snohomish, I went to Glacier Peak, and then I stayed in the area to go to Seattle U. So what are the odds I’d get to stay in Seattle (to start a pro career)? Pretty slim.

“To have it be Seattle, it’s a pretty special thing. Being a local guy … and with all the success the Sounders had this year, it’s obviously really cool to be a part of the organization.”

The first two rounds of the MLS SuperDraft were held Jan. 13. Selections in the third and fourth rounds were made Tuesday. Bjornethun followed Tuesday’s selections online at his parents’ Edmonds home.

Joined by his father and girlfriend, Bjornethun said he was “literally clicking the refresh button on my computer every few seconds, waiting to see my name.” When it finally showed on the screen “we were all kind of freaking out,” he said. “We were pretty excited.”

He received formal notification of his selection in a subsequent telephone call from Chris Henderson, an Everett native and the Sounders’ Sporting Director.

“(Henderson) called to congratulate me, and to let me know what the next steps are going to be,” said Bjornethun, who was once a member of the Sounders’ Youth Academy.

At Seattle U, Bjornethun was a starter and played every minute in all 86 games of his college career. As a junior and senior he was the Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

“I’m thrilled for Kyle,” Redhawks coach Pete Fewing said in a university release. “He gets to stay home and play in a familiar environment. He’s going into a situation where he has a better understanding of the team than any other.”

The Sounders head to training camp next week at Tukwila’s Starfire Sports complex, and later travel to Tucson, Arizona, for additional workouts, followed by the team’s preseason schedule. Seattle’s MLS regular season begins March 4 at Houston.

Bjornethun knows his spot on the team “is not guaranteed at all. It’s really up to me and how I perform. … But I’m somebody who’s going to be really dedicated. I’ll put in a ton of work. I really want to make this work and I’m very hopeful it’s going to happen.

“I feel really lucky to be given this opportunity,” he added, “and now I’m hoping to seize it.”

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