Orlando City Clarifies Status of First-Round Pick Duncan McGuire



Orlando City has signed all of its top 2023 draft picks, officially announcing today that forward Duncan McGuire signed a professional deal ahead of the SuperDraft. McGuire inked a one-year deal with club options for 2024, 2025, and 2026 as a pre-signed senior.

The Lions previously signed defender Abdi Salim on Valentine’s Day and forward Shak Mohammed — the first of the team’s three first-round selections — was a Generation Adidas signing, meaning he too inked a deal with the league prior to the 2023 MLS SuperDraft. The only draft selection who was not signed was the club’s second-round pick — former University of Kentucky defender Luis Grassow, who retired due to personal reasons on Jan. 20.

“The 2023 SuperDraft was an important building block for our roster and, as we previously said, we were happy to get the players we had our eyes on from the start,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “After a very successful collegiate career, Duncan was of course high on our list and to get two players that were already signed — both him and Shak Mohammed — it helped us have an important step already taken so we could instantly begin their focus on the field.” 

The Lions selected McGuire with the sixth overall pick in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft. The second forward Orlando picked in the first six spots of the draft, following Mohammed at No. 2 overall, McGuire’s SuperDraft slot was acquired from the Chicago Fire on May 5, 2022 for the discovery rights to Chris Mueller.

McGuire discussed his excitement of achieving his childhood dream of being part of a professional soccer franchise on draft night.

“It’s kind of hard to believe,” McGuire said on MLSSoccer.com’s broadcast about being selected sixth overall. “It’s been a dream I’ve had since I was like five. And I always believed in it and it’s now becoming a reality. It’s kind of hard to wrap your head around but I’m definitely excited.

“I’ve just got to stay confident and get comfortable with my teammates, myself, and just trust the process, and really just work hard, and I think that will translate over to MLS perfectly. But I know I have a lot to learn and I’m excited to get started.”

McGuire has done that, playing well in the preseason, including scoring a goal and adding an assist in the Lions’ 3-1 friendly win against Florida International University.

An Omaha, NE native, McGuire played three years at Creighton University after sitting out a redshirt freshman season, leaving after his junior campaign. Last season, McGuire had a breakout season, playing in 24 games (23 starts) and recording 1,591 minutes. He scored 23 goals and chipped in three assists. All of these were personal highs in college and his goal total led all of NCAA Division I.

Following the 2022 season, McGuire was named Second Team All-America by the United Soccer Coaches Association and won the MAC Hermann Trophy as the top player in college soccer.

What It Means for Orlando City

It’s always helpful when your first-round draft picks play well in preseason but McGuire would have been signed regardless, based on his college accomplishments and ability to put the ball in the net. With the signing announcement out of the way, McGuire can focus on developing his game and learning from veteran striker Ercan Kara.

Having only seen McGuire in the New England preseason match, it appears McGuire has some work to do in terms of hold-up play and controlling his first touch a bit better in traffic against the bigger, quicker opponents he’s going to see in Major League Soccer. That’s not a knock — all college players have to make that jump if they’re going to have a solid pro career. The good news is that McGuire has the physical tools to make that happen.

The Lions are going to need McGuire to mature quickly and may try to expedite that with some minutes with OCB. Behind Kara, there isn’t a lot of experience at the striker position. Orlando City opted not to bring in a veteran after parting ways with Tesho Akindele, Alexandre Pato, and Benji Michel. That makes it vital for McGuire, fellow rookie Shak Mohammed, MLS U22 Initiative signing Ramiro Enrique, and second-year pro Jack Lynn to be able to step in and provide minutes if needed.


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