Babyele Sodade heard his name called with the Sounders FC’s selection in the second round of the MLS SuperDraft and a grin quickly formed on his face.
Then, his phone started ringing more than it’s ever ringed before.
To the tune of over 800 e-mails cramming his inbox over the following hours as he received hundreds of notifications from his Twitter account that he had new followers.
“My phone didn’t stop ringing,” he laughed on Friday after his first Sounders FC training session. “It’s wonderful. It shows fans appreciate soccer here in Seattle.”
He had reason to smile though, outside the dramatic boost in Twitter followers. Sodade came to Seattle with the University of Alabama-Birmingham in September of 2011 to play in the Husky Classic against the University of Portland and the University of Washington.
The Blazers fell to both the Pilots and Huskies, but Sodade scored against both teams on his way to 13 goals in his senior season for the Blazers.
“I loved it. I said that if I could play in Seattle, it would be a dream come true,” he said. “I was so happy when Seattle picked me. I was smiling from ear-to-ear.”
At 6-foot-3, Sodade gives the Sounders another forward option to complement the prolific scoring touch of Fredy Montero, who has 34 goals in three seasons for the Sounders, the fifth most in MLS over those three years.
And while his combination of size and speed make him a rare commodity in MLS, he’s saying all the right things in his first days of training camp, perhaps realizing the opportunity to both learn from MLS veterans and earn playing time along the way on a Sounders FC team that will play over 40 matches this season.
He’s already seen video of teammates Montero and O’Brian White and thinks of himself as a combination of the two.
“I can learn from O’Brian White and Fredy Montero,” said Sodade, 21. “The more and more I play with the Sounders and learn from them and practice with them, I feel like I can contribute a lot to this organization.”
Already he’s gotten more good news since being drafted just ten days ago. He since got an invitation to join the Canadian preliminary roster for Olympic qualifying in April in his second invitation after receiving a similar invite in 2010.
If he’s able to fulfill some of his potential with the Sounders and makes the Canadian Olympic roster, those Twitter followers are bound to see another spike come June when the Olympic games kick off from London, England.
The thought brings another beaming smile across his face.
“I can’t complain,” he said. “I’ll delete as many e-mails as I need.”