Alumni Spotlight

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Tyler Channell:

After almost a year of pursuing his Major League Soccer (MLS) dream, former Saginaw Valley soccer star Tyler Channell has returned to the Cardinals.

Channell is now an assistant coach for the women’s soccer team.

His professional soccer career was not without success. He attended combines put on by the Columbus Crew and Real Salt Lake, both MLS teams.

“The professional combines were an amazing experience for me,” Channell said. “I went to the Columbus Crew combine, which is a very prestigious club in the MLS, and took a lot out of it. After (the Columbus Crew combine), I went to the Real Salt Lake combine and played well enough to make it to the draft.”

Before coming to Saginaw Valley, Channell never thought the MLS was within reach. He was a walk-on member of the Cardinal soccer team, but after a remarkable career, he was able to pursue his dream.

Since going undrafted, he has returned to Saginaw Valley, where he hopes to pursue coaching.

“Coaching is something I love to do,” Channell said. “It’s something I want to do for the rest of my life and being under coach (Michael) O’Neill is a great experience to become a better coach.”

Mike Ellenbest

On June 11, 2016, Saginaw Valleys starting pitcher Mike Ellenbest was drafted in the 24th round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Toronto Blue Jays.

Ellenbest, currently playing for the Vancouver Canadians, knew the Blue Jays had planned on drafting him, he just was not sure when.

“When I first got word that I was drafted, I was at loss of words,” Ellenbest said. “I knew they were going to take me on the last day of the draft, but I just wasn’t sure what round.”

He credits Saginaw Valley and the baseball team for helping him with his journey.

“My time at SVSU prepared me to mature for this type of situation,” Ellenbest said. “It has helped me grow as a man on and off the field. The coaches supported me throughout the process, to the point where words wouldn’t be enough to thank them.”

His teammates were like family, Ellenbest said. They were the first to know that he had been drafted and that he did not plan on returning to the Cardinal baseball team.

Since beginning his time in the minor leagues, Ellenbest has thrown 28.1 innings with a 4.13 ERA, striking out 19 and walking nine.

As for his future, Ellenbest envisions stadium lights and a sellout crowd.

“Obviously the main goal here is to get to the big leagues,” he said. “But I really see myself working through the minors over the years to develop into the best pitcher I can be and reach my full potential over the year.”

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