Orlando City selected defender Luis Grassow with the 17th pick of the second round (No. 46 overall) in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft. The center back is the second defender taken by Orlando City in this year’s draft and the first player the club has ever taken out of Kentucky.
Grassow spent four seasons with the Wildcats, playing 59 games (56 starts) and recording 5,057 minutes. He scored six goals and accumulated five assists. In his senior season at Kentucky, Grassow played in 21 games (all starts) and recorded 1,757 minutes, scoring three goals and recording one assist. He put 15 of his 31 shot attempts on target during his career with the Wildcats.
The Munich, Germany native didn’t appear as a freshman, but was a regular starter for Kentucky since his sophomore season. The German received several honors in 2021, being named to the United Soccer Coaches All-Southeast Region First Team, C-USA All-Tournament Team, C-USA Tournament Defensive MVP, and All-C-USA First Team.
He continued to receive accolades when Kentucky moved to the Sun Belt Conference for his senior season. Grassow was named Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year this season and was First Team All-Conference. Additionally, he was named First Team All-American by the United Soccer Coaches.
What It Means for Orlando City
At 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, Grassow is primarily a center back but also has the ability to play right back. Most players drafted in the second round don’t make the roster, so it’s a long shot that fans will see Grassow at Exploria Stadium in 2023.
However, the German can provide some depth at the center back position behind Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Rodrigo Schlegel, and Thomas Williams. If he plays well enough to earn a spot on the first-team roster, he’ll require an international slot. But he’ll more than likely end up signing for OCB and the club will see if he can develop into a first-team contributor.
The Lions went defense at No. 17 and No. 46 in the draft. If at least one of those players can become a depth player, it will be good value for the club.