Draft Recap: Jennings and Dean to the MLS

MLS 2020 SuperDraft Tracker

ORLANDO, Fla. ( – Former UCF men's soccer stars Cal Jennings and Jonathan Dean have new places to call home after the 2020 MLS SuperDraft. Jennings was selected with the 17th overall pick in the draft by FC Dallas while Dean will be staying in Florida after being selected by Orlando City with the 39th overall pick.

With Jennings' first round selection, UCF has now produced four first round picks in program history, with the most recent being Hadji Barry when he was drafted by Orlando City 13th overall in 2016.

"Lots of excitment and celebration today" said Jennings, "I'm definitely looking forward to the opportunity that lies ahead of me at FC Dallas and even more excited to see where God leads me throughout my career and my life because I owe it all to Him. I also want to thank all who have had an impact on me throughout my 22 years of life as I'd be foolish to think I got tho this point without a whole lot of love and care from the community around me."

Jennings certainly left his mark on the college soccer world. He tallied 20 goals in his junior season where he collected three hat tricks and was second in the nation in goals scored. He nearly matched that total in 2019, gathering 18 goals which was tied for first in the NCAA.

The now MLS rookie went back to his hometown of Roswell, Ga. to watch the draft with his family and friends. Jennings collected a total of 46 career goals in his time with the Knights, putting him alone in fourth place in career goals and points (108). By the end of his career, Jennings was the NCAA's active leader in game winning goals with a total of 16.

FC Dallas was the seventh and final seed in the 2019 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs as they collected 48 points with a 13-12-9 record. They were eliminated in the first round by Seattle, the eventual champions.

Dean captained the Knights in both 2018 and 2019, helping lead the way to UCF's first two conference titles since 2004. After being recognized on Senior Knight during the 2018 season, Dean was granted an extra year of eligibility, allowing him to captain the team for a second consecutive season. He tallied six assists in his farewell tour with a number of them coming in clutch situations.

"The feeling of getting drafted is incredible and a dream come true," said Dean, "Hard work pays off. I can't thank Orlando City enough for giving me this opportunity and I'm ready to get to work with the club. It's a surreal moment and I thank everyone who has been a part of this; God, family, coaches, friends and teammates."

Dean was taken with the 13th pick in the second round, making him the third second-round pick in franchise history. He is the second Knight taken by Orlando City.

Orlando City is looking to get back on the right track after going 9-15-10 during the 2019 season. An overhauled coaching staff is set to turn the program around in 2020.

Both Jennings and Dean are the first players taken in the MLS draft during the Scott Calabrese era. They are the eighth and ninth draft picks in program history.

This is the only the second time that the Knights have had two players taken in the MLS SuperDraft in the same season. The only other time such a feat occurred was in 2011 when Kevan George was taken by Columbus 29th overall and Warren Creavalle was selected by Houston 37th overall.

The Knights now have no remaining players who are eligible for the 2020 MLS SuperDraft. UCF had seven juniors in 2019, making for a talented 2020 senior class. The program could see even more names go in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft.

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