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Villanova grad relishing preseason opportunity with Seattle Sounders

Defender Chris Bared was drafted in the third round of the recent MLS SuperDraft

Chris Bared in a friendly against Bethlehem Steel FC in 2017
Matt Ralph

Christopher Bared has spent the last four years at Villanova getting directions shouted from behind him by his goalkeeper so it was only appropriate that Will Steiner would be the one to break the news that he had been drafted into Major League Soccer last week.

“I thought he was playing some sort of joke on me,” Bared said about the text he got from Steiner telling him he had been drafted by the Seattle Sounders.

While the 21-year-old left back knew the draft was a possibility, the later rounds of the MLS draft are often marked by uncertainty while some teams even pass on drafting anyone with their picks.

Once he figured out Steiner wasn’t pranking him, the 22nd pick in the third round and the 68th overall pick didn’t have long to celebrate the news.

“Within an hour or so of finding out, I was packing,” Bared said.

Less than 24 hours later he was training with the Sounders for the first time in Seattle before heading to Chula Vista, California for a week-long camp.

“It’s been a hectic past 72 hours,” Bared said in a phone interview during a break from training on Wednesday.

After graduating with a degree in English and a minor in political science in December, the Miami, Florida native moved back to Philadelphia with plans to go to grad school and look for opportunities to continue playing locally.

Being drafted hasn’t changed those plans just yet as earning a roster spot will be difficult. None of Seattle’s five picks in 2017 made the first team roster and only their first round pick - Lititz, Pa. native Brian Nana-Sinkham - earned a roster spot with Seattle Sounders 2.

“I’m not really setting myself up with too lofty of goals,” Bared said. “I’m taking it one training session at a time and playing the game I can play and focusing on being the player that I am. I’m just trying to relax and not worry too much about the future.”

Bared was a regular for the Wildcats since his freshman year in 2014, playing primarily as a left back but can also play right back and center back. A Panama youth international, Bared was part of the Panama youth team in the U17 World Cup in 2013 and the U20 World Cup in 2015.

“Over his four years with us, Chris did a tremendous job,” Villanova head coach Tom Carlin said. “He was extremely coach-able and at every turn took the teaching our staff gave him and went to work. (Being drafted) is a credit to his approach, how he handled himself as a player and teammate, as well as his skill.”

Bared is the first player to be drafted out of Villanova since Houston Dynamo defender Kevin Garcia was drafted by the New England Revolution in 2012. Liam Callahan, who was drafted out of Syracuse in 2017, spent his freshman year at Villanova.

“Villanova has been an unforgettingabe experience,” Bared said. “I love the school and I love the soccer program. The coaches made it a really easy environment to grow as a player and a person in. I’m thankful to them for that.”

The Sounders will be wrapping up their California camp today and return to Seattle for a brief stint before heading to Tucson on Friday for a week in Arizona.