Orlando City selected left back Nick O’Callaghan from Florida International University in the third round of the 2020 MLS SuperDraft this afternoon with the 57th overall pick. It’s the second consecutive year that the club has selected a player that came from the club’s academy and played at FIU.
Originally from Winter Springs, O’Callaghan played at Winter Springs High School and for the Orlando City Development Academy. In 2014, he played under coach Darren Powell, who arrived that year from Elon University in North Carolina.
O’Callaghan decided to attend his coach’s former school, quickly becoming a key part of the Phoenix’s starting lineup. He started 15 games and appeared in 19 for Elon during his freshman season, helping the team keep nine clean sheets that season. As a sophomore in 2016, O’Callaghan started 13 times and played in 14 games, scoring a goal and assisting twice. He started and appeared in 16 games during his junior year, recording two assists for the Phoenix.
Following his junior year at Elon, O’Callaghan decided to return home and enroll at FIU. As an undergraduate transfer student, he was ineligible to play in games during 2018, but returned to the field this past season. O’Callaghan played in 13 games this season (all starts), helping keep five clean sheets. At the end of the year, he was named C-USA Co-Defensive Player of the Year.
O’Callaghan returned home twice during the summer months to play for Orlando City or a club-affiliated team. In 2015, he played for Orlando City U-23 during the team’s final year of operation. He returned home again last year to play for SIMA Aguilas, a fourth division team that was largely made up of Orlando City Academy products and was coached by Mike Potempa, who was later put in charge of OCB and the club’s academy.
This is the second straight year that Orlando City has selected a player that came out of the club’s academy and played at FIU. Last year, the club selected Santiago Patiño in the first round with the third overall selection. The forward was not eligible as a Homegrown Player as he had not played in the club’s academy long enough before heading to college. O’Callaghan met the Homegrown Player standards but entered college before the club entered MLS, so the club was unable to add him to their Homegrown list before he left for college.
What it Means for Orlando City
Nick O’Callaghan could be a part of the rebuild of the Orlando City defense that lost several defenders following the 2019 season. If O’Callaghan makes the first team in 2020, he’ll likely back up Joao Mountinho at left back. This would allow Kamal Miller to return to center back, his primary position. The fact that O’Callaghan came through the Orlando City Academy and played for multiple Orlando City-affiliated teams, makes this an even more interesting pick.
Note: Like many other MLS teams, the Lions passed on making a selection in Round 4. Orlando City held the No. 83 overall selection spot in that round.