#BuiltByUCF - Jennings Signs with LAFC

#BuiltByUCF - Men's Soccer

ORLANDO, Fla. – Just a year and half removed from his final match in the Black and Gold, former UCF men's soccer star Cal Jennings will be suiting up in those same colors at the MLS level as he has signed with LAFC. Jennings will become the eighth Knight to suit up for an MLS squad

Jennings' path to the highest level of soccer in the United States has been a quick one, but with multiple stops along the way. He was officially the first player drafted in the Scott Calabrese era as he was selected by FC Dallas with the 17th pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft which took place in January. Shortly after, FC Dallas decided not to offer him a contract.

Following the events of the SuperDraft, the sport of soccer was shutdown world-wide due to the spreading pandemic of COVID-19. Jennings signed with Memphis 901 FC out of the shutdown, landing his first professional contract.

Jennings had an incredible first season of professional soccer, tallying nine goals over 14 matches. His career began as a late substitute and worked his way up to earning the starting job on Aug. 22. Jennings rallied down the stretch, collecting his first hat trick as a pro in Memphis' final match which doubled as just the second hat trick in team history. Eight of Jennings' nine goals came over his final four matches, with the lone remaining goal coming on July 18 against Atlanta United which was the first of his career. Jennings' phenomenal run to end the season earned him the honor of being named the USL Championship's Player of the Week.

On Dec. 4, Jennings inked a fresh deal with Indy Eleven, appearing he would spend his 2021 season at the USL Championship level once again.

Jennings becomes the eighth player in program history to reach the MLS. He joins Sean Johnson (2007-08) as the only other active Knight alumni on a roster at the MLS level. Warren Creavalle (2010-11) was active last season as a member of the Philadelphia Union but has not signed a new contract for the upcoming season.

LAFC is entering their fourth season as a club in the MLS. They have found overwhelming success to this point, winning the Supporters Shield in 2019 and reaching the semifinals of the playoffs. Jennings is one of eight forwards listed on the current roster.

As of now, there are five active UCF alumni playing professional soccer in the United States. Jennings and Johnson are the two active MLS players while Jonathan Dean (2016-19), Hadji Barry (2014-15) and Louis Perez (2017-21) will be playing in the USL Championship this season. Dean is set for his second season with the Birmingham Legion. Barry is set to embark on his fourth season in the USL with a new team, signing with Colorado Switchbacks FC in January. Perez recently signed on to join Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC after playing in the first match of UCF's 2020-21 season.

Three more Knights are active overseas as Matias Pyysalo (2014-17), Deshorn Brown (2012) and Romario Williams (2012-14) are all suiting up abroad in 2021.

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