Dylan Remick TBAS
Dan Poss

To Be A Sounder: Dylan Remick settling into starting role with the Sounders

Every day Andy Rose walks into the locker room, and every day it’s the same thing with Dylan Remick. That ever-present 400-watt smile.

Rose and Remick were drafted by Sounders FC out of college a year apart, and their lockers share a wall. The two developed a natural kinship as they both strove to break into Seattle’s first team, which hardened their bond in the fires of first team training. It didn’t take Rose long to gather up minutes, and as of this year Remick’s joined him as a first team regular at leftback.

So every time Rose throws himself down at his locker to strap on his boots and crank up another day, Remick’s there to greet him with a broad smile and a couple good-natured jokes to lift the mood

“He’s always excited for training, excited to see the guys,” Rose said. “He’s just a very happy person. He always brightens up your day a little bit.”

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Life is good these days for Remick, the Brown University grad with a Biology degree and incendiary speed on the left. He’s quickly installed himself this season as the primary leftback for the league’s No. 3 defense, and his quicks along the left flank make his overlaps with Marco Pappa among the most dangerous of their ilk in the league. There are few teams in MLS who can boast a leftback, that most difficult of positions to fill, with quite as many intangibles. Remick’s already started a career-high 15 matches this year and logged 1,341 minutes, nearly twice his total from all of 2013 and 2014 combined.

But it wasn’t always such clear sailing. During his rookie campaign in 2013, Remick squeezed in just 25 minutes of First Team action with Leo Gonzalez firmly entrenched in the starting role. Last season, though, seemed different. At least initially it felt like his breakout year. He came into camp in stunning shape and started six of Seattle’s first nine matches of the season. Sounders FC was 4-2-0 in those matches.

Then the sea swells came. Remick turned his left ankle - his dominant ankle - in a match against the Philadelphia Union on May 3, 2014, and he didn’t start another match for nearly three months. In fact, after the injury Remick played just 190 cumulative minutes over the final six months of the season. With Gonzalez seemingly back in the saddle, Remick wrestled with the mental demons that tend to swirl predatorily over the trainer’s table and then the bench.

“Going through the injury, there were some confidence issues,” Remick said. “It’s just one of those things where every pro goes through something, and that was something I had to fight through. I just had to take a step back. I was in my head a little bit too much at the low points, and at the high points I was taking it a little too high. So it was more just keeping level-headed through all of it, and that was a very good learning lesson for me.”

Remick could feel the lights flickering on in the darkened spaces of his game early last year, but injury put that process on hold. When he won his first starting gig of this season against Houston on April 4, he essentially kicked the generator to restart the process. In a lot of ways Remick is still honing his game, but he’s as comfortable as a pro now as he’s ever been.

“I was in my head a little bit too much at the low points, and at the high points I was taking it a little too high. So it was more just keeping level-headed through all of it, and that was a very good learning lesson for me.”

“This year just playing in the games, the more games you play, the more confident you get, the more comfortable you get in that position,” Remick said. “The game just becomes a little bit slower. I think just playing games really helped me settle in a bit and not really be as nervous for each game.”

Remick comes by his cerebral thought process naturally. Before college, Remick spent four years at Loyola Academy, a prestigious college prep school in Wilmette, Illinois, about 14 miles north of downtown Chicago. The school has an impressive index of alumni. It’s where Michael Jordan sent his oldest son to play high school basketball. Actor Bill Murray graduated from Loyola in the late 1960’s.

Remick turned that experience into a four-year education at Brown, an Ivy League institution in every sense of the word. A 2013 U.S. News & World Report survey listed Brown’s 9.4 percent application acceptance rate as the 11th lowest in the nation. It dropped below 9.0 a year later.

While Remick juggled a pre-med degree in Biology, he was busy shifting his positional weight one spot to the left. Remick spent most of his youth career as a centerback, but need and his agility - Remick finished eighth in the state 400m dash as a high school senior - pushed him out to the left, where he stayed for the remainder of his college career. He was a three-time All-Ivy League selection and helped Brown into the Third Round of the NCAA tournament in 2011.

When Remick was drafted by Seattle in the second round of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, he barged into MLS with something to prove - that he belonged here, that he could start in this league, that the Ivy League could produce professionals.

“I’d say there was a little bit of a chip on my shoulder and those of the other guys on my team (at Brown),” said Remick, a one-time teammate of current NYCFC forward Tommy McNamara. “Just because you see the Ivy League and the perception is you see mostly guys who couldn’t get a full ride scholarship to a big-time Pac-12 or ACC school. I don’t think it’s true. A lot of guys on my team could’ve played on a lot of really good colleges, but it’s also a lot of Ivy League guys go to college to get that Ivy League degree first for a non-soccer job after college.”

Remick briefly flirted with the idea of walking away from soccer to enter the medical field, but he ultimately decided against taking the MCAT to plunge head-first into the uncertain waters of professional soccer. It’s a decision he doesn’t regret for a second.

Remick’s road to here has been predictably unpredictable. An Ivy League degree, a cross-country move, two seasons spent either injured or mostly watching from the bench and, suddenly, a starting spot on arguably the most talent-rich team in MLS. Remick’s touchline speed and technicality quickly cast him as the natural choice at a position that’s been notoriously difficult to fill for the vast majority of the league’s teams.

Not for Sounders FC. Not this year. Not with Remick.

“It’s a good part of the journey now,” Remick said. “It’s nice to see the hard work throughout the years paying off a bit. Everybody wants to play, so it’s enjoyable to play especially in front of our home fans. There’s nothing really like it. It’s definitely one of those things where you can see the hard work and all the fight paying off. That’s a really cool part of it.”

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