Local boy Chris Eylander, 26, was waived by the Sounders FC a couple days ago. The young goalkeeper and Auburn native has been a mainstay in the Pacific Northwest for a while. Earning a Gatorade State Player of the Year award at Auburn Riverside High School, starring at the University of Washington and leading the USL Sounders for many years.
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(What’s the next step for you after being waived?)
Right now it’s just compiling all my options with an agent that I have. Just seeing what’s out there and trying to make a deal with a team. Right now I’m in the waiver draft, between this morning and Thursday morning, so that’s when I’ll know if I clear waivers or another team picks me up. If I do clear waivers, I’m contacting teams right now and am in the process of trying to figure out deals with them. It’s just one step at a time.
(Chances of being a league pool goalkeeper?)
There’s a very small chance that there could be a league pool ‘keeper this year. [Sounders FC technical director] Chris Henderson says that pretty much every team requests a league goalkeeper every year. The fact that we had one last year, Ben Dragavon, makes the chances of that pretty small. Obviously, first of all, I’d like to be on an MLS team or USL team playing, where I can really improve and work on parts of my game and develop more as a player. That is on the table, but the chances of that are pretty small. We’ll see.
(How has being injured affected all of this?)
In terms of Seattle, yeah I wish I would have had a better year of health. I don’t really think I got a chance to show people, the coaches, who I really am as a player. But in terms of looking for teams right now, I’m pretty close to being 100-percent. Right now, it’s just being cautious. Obviously I don’t want to reinjure something, so I’m being a little bit cautious and making sure I get to being 100-percent. Right now, I have a little time to make sure I get to where I want to get. Another team hasn’t picked me up yet, so I’m really going about this in a safe way. Making sure the next place I go, I’m ready to roll when I get there.
(Having been a local guy for so long, what’s it like preparing to possibly move out of town?)
It’s a little weird. I was eventually going to get to that place, you’re not going to stay in your backyard your whole life if you’re a professional athlete. But I think from what I’ve heard, you grow a lot as a person and a player when you have to get out of your comfort zone and go to a new place. There are things that are ending here but also it’s also kind of a new beginning in some ways. I have to take the next step and I’m looking forward to those things that I’ll learn from.
(On not being 42 years old and still having a future ahead…)
I’m not 42 years old yet. I still have option on the table and I’m happy right now. Just hoping to find a new team soon and find a new direction.