Central defender Chase Mikkelsen has made it to the list of 10 finalists for a roster spot on the Seattle Sounders FC roster, and the winner from the team's talent search, which looked at more than 600 regional players, will be decided this weekend. If he wins, he will become the league's first Native American athlete.
Mikkelsen is a Gros Ventre, Mont., Indian who moved to Sandpoint, Idaho, when he was two years old. "I'm proud to be a native and hopefully can become the first Native American to play professionally," said Mikkelsen, who played four years at Fort Lewis College. If he doesn't make it, he has the fallback of a professional contract in Norway, where his brother Halvor Mikkelsen also plays.
Four players will be chosen from the 10 after an 11 v 11 scrimmage Saturday, and a further tryout Sunday will see one outright winner picked to play for the Sounders in 2009. "I think I have a good shot to be one of those four finalists," said Mikkelsen, who believes the coaches like his 6 foot-2 frame. "They're looking for that diamond in the rough in the Northwest."