Two More Panthers Selected In MLS Super Draft

Alex Rivera/Staff Writer

On Monday, over a private conference call, Panthers Nick O’Callaghan and Andrew Booth were selected by MLS sides, meaning that that three eligible Panthers will further their soccer careers at the professional level. 

Before last week, the FIU had three players eligible for the MLS SuperDraft, with Daniel Gagliardi being the first of the three getting selected by Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the second round.

In the third round, defender Nick O’Callaghan was selected by Orlando City SC, the fifth pick in the round and 57th overall. O’Callaghan began his college career at Elon University in North Carolina before transferring to FIU for the 2018 season. Since his transfer, he has played 14 games.

In his last season with FIU, O’Callaghan played 13 of the 18 games, for 1,112 minutes and served a crucial role in defending, well as making four shots, one of which was on goal. 

O’Callaghan will be staying in state, heading to central Florida to join Orlando City SC, a side that finished second to last in the Eastern Conference with 9 wins, 15 draws and 10 losses. He will be joining the eight defenders that are already on the team, of the eight, Antônio Carlos and Rodrigo Schlegel are new additions to the team.

While Orlando City SC has never made it to the playoffs in their five seasons at the MLS level, in the past two seasons they been able to find success in the U.S. Open Cup, getting eliminated in the semifinal last season. 

In the fourth round, midfielder Andrew Booth was selected by Minnesota United FC as the 18th pick in the round and 96th overall. 

Booth started his career at FIU redshirting his first year and playing every season after that. In 2016 and 2017 he made 15 starts in each of the two seasons. But it was in 2018 that Booth started filling in the blanks of his stats sheet, scoring two goals, making four assists and appearing in 17 games. 

In his final year at FIU, Booth amassed 1,492 minutes of game time, started in 16 and appeared in every game of the season. As for offensive production, Booth made five goals and five assists while taking 35 shots, 15 of which were on goal. 

Minnesota United FC qualified for the MLS playoffs last season, to be eliminated in the first round, but was able to get to the U.S. Open Cup Final, before coming up short against Atlanta United FC. Last season the side had 15 wins, 11 draws and eight losses finishing fourth in the Western Conference.

Like O’Callaghan, Booth will be joining eight other midfielders, featuring MLS veterans Osvaldo Alonso, Kevin Molino and Ethan Finlay just to name a few. 

With these selections, Gagliardi, O’Callaghan and Booth’s teams will cross paths during the MLS regular season: Orlando City SC playing against Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Minnesota United FC once each, and Vancouver Whitecaps FC against Minnesota United FC  will occur twice in the 2020 season.  

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