Player Features

Academy midfielder Snyder Brunell makes significant strides with Tacoma Defiance

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Sounders Academy player Snyder Brunell continues to make a big impression on the pitch after scoring his first professional goal in Tacoma Defiance’s 2-2 draw against North Texas SC last weekend.

“That was a sign of his ability and his bravery to get forward and join the attack a bit more,” said Tacoma Defiance Assistant Coach Michael Morris. “He looks to help support the build from the back, but he does have a willingness and a desire to get on the ball and help our attacking structure.”

Brunell joined the Sounders organization in 2020 after being a part of local club Crossfire Premier. Since his arrival, his development has flourished immensely.

“He's definitely ahead of his development in regards to where he should be in terms of what he's learning,” said VP of Player Development Henry Brauner. 

At only 16 years old, Brunell’s been given the opportunity to compete at the professional level with Tacoma Defiance while also participating in preseason training sessions with the First Team. While there’s an age gap between him and the other players in MLS NEXT Pro and the overall professional game, his growth in the sport has accelerated so much to where age is but a number. 

“When we look at future potential, we look at players that are maybe playing at an 18,19, or 20-year-old level and they are 15 or 16,” said Brauner. “With Snyder, we see it very consistently.”

Brauner described Brunell as a “steady contributor” every time he’s involved in training sessions or playing in matches with his Academy team or Defiance.

“His baseline performances have been good performances, even when he doesn't have a great game and even when we see those really high highs, we don't really see too many valleys,” said Brauner. 

He is even compared to First Team midfielders Josh Atencio and Danny Leyva, who underwent a similar path to Brunell before making their way to the top flight of MLS. 

“He has a very, very good physical capacity and the ability to cover the ground at high speeds which they need to do at a professional level, but then also his vision and consistency of passing and his precision within games is very, very high as well,” said Brauner. “So we're seeing almost two different types of profiles into one and that's an encouraging thing for us to see.”

While Brunell is certainly seeing success in his soccer career thus far, he still has a ways to go. But with the help and support of his teammates and staff at the Sounders organization, his future in soccer looks promising.

“He has made decent steps so far,” said Morris. “If and when he signs a contract [with Defiance], we would come up with a specific, player development progression plan for him to try to help him maximize his potential.”