There are not many players who played in the Premier Development League as long as Brandt Bronico, and after four strong seasons, he is eager to show Major League Soccer his talents with the Chicago Fire.
Bronico was one of 59 PDL alums selected in January's MLS SuperDraft, chosen with the 47th overall pick. He made his debut for the Fire in the club's second game of the season against Real Salt Lake, entering as a substitute. And on March 18, Bronico earned 24 minutes as a sub against Atlanta United FC.
However, before the 21-year-old midfielder earned his first professional minutes, and even before he stepped on to campus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he would earn numerous accolades, he shined as a teenager in the summer of 2013.
Bronico began the 2013 PDL campaign as a 17-year-old and hit the ground running, scoring five goals to lead the Carolina Dynamo to a South Atlantic Division title while also earning 2013 All-PDL Eastern Conference Team honors.
“The Dynamo I definitely enjoyed the most just because it was my hometown," Bronico told USLPDL.com, "and I had a lot of fans, friends and family around me all the time, so they could watch me play and support me."
Photo courtesy of Chicago Fire
In total, Bronico played 23 games for the Dynamo from 2013-14, but then he opted to test himself out west in 2015. And he passed with flying colors, scoring four goals and recording three assists in nine games (689 minutes) with the Sounders FC U23.
“In Seattle, I liked it just because I was around a pro environment. It was cool to walk over to Starfire and watch the first team for Seattle train. I learned a lot from them. So both were great clubs to play for.”
"Brandt was a very good attacking player for us, and we worked to help him hone his skill set," Sounders U23 General Manager and Head Coach Darren Sawatzky told USLPDL.com. "His drive and ability to create at a high level got him drafted into MLS. We are obviously happy for him and wish him the very best in his career."
Bronico proved his talent with the Dynamo and the Sounders U23, but he was also an important member of the 49ers from 2013-16, scoring 25 goals and recording 23 assists.
Before his senior season at college, which turned out to be his most productive, Bronico decided to return to the Dynamo in the summer of 2016. He scored two goals and provided five assists to help his hometown club reach the PDL Playoffs for the first time since his first campaign with them in 2013.
“Overall, I had a great experience playing in the PDL,” Bronico said. “I thought it was a good way to keep you in shape and keep you on the ball in the summer since college doesn’t offer anything like that. It kept you up with continuous touches on the ball, got you a lot of game minutes during the summer and exposed you to different coaches and different styles of play.”
“I would recommend playing in the PDL to just about anybody,” he added, “just because it keeps you in shape, and you get a lot of games, and you can visit different parts of the country and play soccer at the same time – which is pretty unique.”
Bronico's PDL career, which began a long four years ago, ends with him recording 12 goals and 10 assists in 41 games played. Now, he is looking to have a similar impact for the Fire.
“Being around and learning from Dax [McCarty] and Juninho because they are two tremendous players [is what I enjoy most about being with the Fire]," Bronico said, "I feel like I can get a lot from them.”