Anchorage’s Hunter Sulte signs MLS contract with Portland Timbers

Timbers practice on the newly renovated Jeld-Wen Field Tuesday, April 12, 2011, in Portland,...
Timbers practice on the newly renovated Jeld-Wen Field Tuesday, April 12, 2011, in Portland, Ore. The Portland Timbers play for the first time as a Major League Soccer team in front of their home fans on Thursday night. The team started this season on the road while their refurbished stadium was completed.(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)(Rick Bowmer | ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 9:03 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Instead of signing a national letter of intent, Anchorage’s Hunter Sulte signed a Major League Soccer contract with the Portland Timbers. The high school senior signed an MLS Homegrown contract and was added to the Timbers 2021 roster. This makes Sulte the second-ever Alaskan to sign a Major League Soccer contract, according to the Timbers.

“Definitely feels unreal to have achieved this,” Sulte said over Zoom on Wednesday. “Finally knowing all the work I have put in has paid off.”

In 2020 fashion, Sulte’s contract signing was unconventional, happening over the phone while he sat on a friend’s couch. The chance to play professional soccer has been a goal for Sulte since he left Anchorage in 2016 to play for the Portland Timbers Academy.

“The reason I came down here [Portland] was to play professionally,” Sulte said. “I’m glad it all happened and I put in the work to do it.”

MLS teams like the Portland Timbers use academies to recruit youth soccer talent and monitor their development.

“I’m glad Alaskans still call me their own even though I haven’t been there the past couple of years,” Sulte said. “It’s pretty cool to say you’re from Alaska.”

The 18-year-old goaltender grew up in Anchorage playing for the Cook Inlet Soccer Club and returns often to visit his family. Prior to signing a professional contract with the Timbers, Sulte made eight appearances for United Soccer League champion Portland Timbers 2. The upcoming season, Sulte expects to be loaned out for the 2021 soccer season and hopes to be playing with the MLS Portland Timbers by 2022.

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