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FC Tucson Bolsters Back Line with Bjornethun, Ledbetter

By Staff, 02/01/19, 4:35PM EST


Defensive duo featured for USL Championship clubs in 2018

Kyle Bjornethun (left) and Austin Ledbetter (right) bring USL Championship experience to Tucson's back line.

TUCSON, Ariz. – FC Tucson added two more players to its inaugural roster on Friday as the club announced it had signed defenders Kyle Bjornethun and Austin Ledbetter for the 2019 USL League One season, pending league and federation approval. Per club policy, the details of the contract will not be released.

A University of Seattle graduate, Bjornethun started in 85 matches over his collegiate career, netting nine goals and adding four assists. Over his four years with Redhawks, the now 23-year-old earned Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year and First-Team All-WAC honors.

Bjornethun was selected 88th overall in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft by Seattle Sounders FC but never featured for the side before making his professional debut in the USL Championship with the Portland Timbers 2. In 2018, he played for Toronto FC II, making 26 appearances in his first season with the club.

“I’m looking forward to this season with FC Tucson,” said Bjornethun. “It’s a club with a great coaching staff and a roster full of talented players. Being a new team, there’s something to prove to the league as well as the city. I think Tucson will see a team that is exciting to watch!”

A graduate of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Ledbetter served as a two-year captain for the Cougars and was named the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in 2016. During his collegiate career, Ledbetter starred for FC Tucson during its League Two days, logging 1,710 minutes of play over 19 appearances.

The 23-year-old, who was selected with the 53rd pick of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft by FC Dallas, most recently played in the USL Championship for Saint Louis FC. This past season, Ledbetter made nine appearances for STLFC as the club reached the USL Cup Playoffs for the first time in its history.

“I am so fortunate to sign with such a great club in its first professional season,” said Ledbetter. “I am very thankful to come to such a great organization that will make me feel at home. I'm ready to get to work with my teammates and make our first year a memorable one!”