January 27, 2009

First Native to play pro soccer?

Sandpoint soccer standout hoping to become first Native American in MLSAlready one of the 10 finalists for a roster spot on the Major League Soccer expansion Seattle Sounders FC team, Sandpoint's Chase Mikkelsen is hoping to not just make the final cut, but a little bit of history along the way.

Mikkelsen, a 6-foot-2, 205 pound center back who played on Sandpoint High School's first-ever state championship team in 2001, has emerged as a finalist from more than 600 regional players who tried out in Disney's Sounders Super Search, where one player earns a 2009 roster spot on the brand new MLS franchise.

While making the Sounders would fulfill the dream of being a professional athlete, Mikkelsen is most proud of representing his heritage as a Gros Ventre, Mont., Indian. He moved to Sandpoint when he was 2-years-old, and eventually was named the Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year in 2001.

"I'm proud to be a native and hopefully can become the first Native American to play professionally," says Mikkelsen, who played four years at Fort Lewis College. "If I don't make it, I have a professional contract in Norway."

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