#UCFamily - Eight Men's Soccer Alumni On the Move in the U.S., 12 Total in Action

ORLANDO – Twelve UCF men's soccer alumni have begun to take back to the pitch in the United Stats and around the world this week as the MLS and USL Championship seasons are set to get in full swing.

Eight former Knights were on the move in the ranks of American national soccer in just the past few weeks ahead of the 2023 professional campaign.

Sean Johnson, GK, Toronto FC, MLS
After winning an MLS Cup MVP with NYCFC and spending six years with the club, Johnson finds himself suiting up for Toronto FC. He's coming off a year in which he posted a career-high 14 clean sheets. Johnson was selected to be a part of the United States' FIFA World Cup roster this past winter, becoming the first Knight in program history to be rostered for the tournament.

Jonathan Dean, Chicago Fire FC, MLS
After serving as a defender for three seasons with Birmingham Legion FC, Dean rises to the MLS level. He had a big year in 2022, playing in 34 matches, scoring two goals and earning six assists. Birmingham made the playoff in all three seasons Dean was a member of the club.

Gino Vivi, F, LA Galaxy, MLS
UCF's most recent draft pick, Vivi was selected by the LA Galaxy 23rd overall in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft, becoming the program's fifth first-round pick in program history. Vivi put on a show as a Knight, finishing his career in a tie of tenth place on UCF's all-time scoring list, tallying 19 goals and 23 assists for 61 points. He worked his way up to a tie of fifth on the Knights' career assists chart. He will go down as one of the Black and Gold's most prolific scorers, becoming the second player under Coach Calabrese to finish their career in the top 10 of UCF's all-time scoring list. Vivi joins Cal Jennings as the second player to accomplish the feat since 2017. Jennings totaled 107 points over his four years as a Knight, scoring 46 goals with 15 assists.

Cal Jennings, F, Tampa Bay Rowdies, USL Championship
Jennings' career continues in a new destination after getting to hoist an MLS Cup with LAFC this past season. Although he didn't play in the cup final, he did score a goal in the U.S. Open cup, his first goal with an MLS franchise. Now in the USL Championship, Jennings returns to the state of Florida to join the Tampa Bay Rowdies, one of the league's more notable teams over the past few seasons. Jennings is set to make his Rowdies debut on March 11, against another Knight in a new place.

Yannik Oettl, GK, Indy Eleven, USL Championship
Former teammates for three years (2017-19), Oettl will square off with Jennings for the first match of the campaign. Oettl joins Indy Eleven after officially being a part of New England Revolution II of MLS Next but was on loan at Hartford Athletic. He appeared in 19 matches, posting four clean sheets.

Yanis Leerman, D, Loundon United FC, USL Championship
Leerman's path was a bit different than most Knights in the pros. After graduating from UCF and being selected by Chicago Fire FC in the MLS super draft he opted to return to college soccer for a final year with a different program. He'll now get his chance at professional action after earning multiple honors as a member of the Black and Gold, most noticeably an All-American Third Team nod during the 2020-21 season.

Romario Williams, F, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, USL Championship
Williams moves from one USL Championship team to another. He played with New Mexico United last season in his return to the United Stats after spending time in the Egyptian Premier League. He played in 10 matches, scoring one goal while in New Mexico. Williams is the third of the former Knights to win an MLS Cup, hoisting it with Atlanta United in 2018. He did not play in the cup final but contributed to the team's championship quest throughout the season.

Louis Perez, M, North Carolina FC, USL League One
After a monster season with FC Tucson, Perez finds himself with another club in USL League One in North Carolina FC. He's fresh off a breakout year, where he scored six goals and tallied seven assists. His seven assists were tied for fourth in the league.

Hadji Barry, F, Future FC, Egyptian Premiere League
While Barry isn't one of the eight new winter signings, he is in a new spot as of October. He was part of the biggest transfer in Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC history, moving to the Egyptian Premiere League to play for Future FC. Barry scored 41 goals with Colorado Springs and already has a goal and assist with his new club in 13 matches.

Deshorn Brown, F, Sacramento Republic FC, USL Championship
Brown returned to the United States in July as part of Sacramento Republic FC after playing in the Indian Super League. He played in 12 matches, scoring a goal in the process. He scored seven goals during the 2021-22 season.

Matias Pyysalo, M, Grankulla IFK, Kakkonen
Pyysalo is the other former Knight playing internationally, currently in the third tier of Finnish soccer. He's tallied a pair of goals in each of his last three seasons.

Nick Taylor, M, Svay Rieng, Cambodian Premiere League
One of UCF's more recent MLS SuperDraft picks, Taylor began his professional career with Orlando City's MLS Next Pro team. This season, he'll be playing at the highest level of soccer in Cambodia. Taylor made his senior international debut with the Cambodian National Team on Sep 23, 2022, entering a s a substitute. He scored his first international goal on Dec. 29, 2022, a penalty kick in a 5-1 victory over Brunei in the group stage of the AFF Championship.