With Brandon Bye, Mark Segbers, New England shore up right back position

Brandon Bye -- Podium -- 2018 Draft

PHILADELPHIA — Brad Friedel says he couldn’t have asked for much more from his first MLS SuperDraft as New England Revolution head coach.

“It’s been good,” he said. “The first two players on our list we got.”

That would be Western Michigan’s Brandon Bye and Wisconsin’s Mark Segbers, a pair of defenders the Revs plucked with the eighth and ninth picks of Friday’s MLS SuperDraft. 

“We’re not going for any international players,” added Friedel, who was hired in November to take the Revolution’s reins. “We wanted domestic players. And we got two with an incredible amount of athleticism and pace. Both of them were wingers by trade, both of them have sort of been converted to right back, which will fit into our system nicely and provide a lot of cover on the right hand side. Hopefully it’s more than that in the months to come.”

Friedel said bolstering the right side of the defense was a top offseason priority because Andrew Farrell “needs some competition.” The Revs coach also values “pace and athleticism” in that part of the field — two things that he said both Bye and Segbers can bring. 

“That’s what we were looking for and we found two that are very versatile,” Friedel said. “They can play as wingers or as fullbacks and they can play as wing backs.”

Knowing their needs coming into the MLS Combine, as well as the unique position of having back-to-back picks in the Top 10 thanks to a trade with the Philadelphia Union, Friedel said he was almost exclusively focused on locking down two defensive players.

And he loved what he saw in Bye and Segbers, both on the field and in the interview room.

That feeling proved mutual with both defenders’ eyes growing wide when asked what it means to play under someone of Friedel’s stature.

“Brad Friedel, he’s an absolute US legend,” said Segbers, a four-year starter at Wisconsin. “So when I walked in that meeting room, it was already kind of a shocker just to see him sitting there. He introduced himself and I’m like, ‘Trust me, I know who you are.’ So it’s amazing to be able to play under him. I’m super excited to prove myself.

“I know there’s a lot of hard work to do and I’m excited to start fighting for that starting spot and those playing minutes right away. You can tell there’s a drive about him and I have that same kind of drive, so I think the connection will work well.”

Bye, who most recently played as a goal-scoring midfielder at Western Michigan, expressed a similar eagerness.

“I’m ready to learn what he’s got to teach me,” Bye said. “Obviously he’s got a lot of knowledge, a lot of experience, and I’m just ready to absorb everything I can.”