Center back Luis Grassow, a 2023 MLS SuperDraft second-round pick by Orlando City, has decided to retire from the game for personal reasons. The club put out a statement today that reads:
Orlando City SC 2023 second-round draft pick Luis Grassow has decided to retire due to personal reasons. The club will retain his MLS rights as part of the College Protected List.
We wish Luis the best of luck as he begins his next chapter.
The University of Kentucky defender was selected with the 17th pick of the second round (No. 46 overall) in December’s draft. The Munich, Germany native 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.
Grassow 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. After his senior season, he 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.
The 6-foot-1 defender was thought to be versatile enough to play both center back and right back.
What It Means for Orlando City
As are most second-round picks, Grassow was a bit of a longshot to make the MLS roster, but even if he didn’t, there was an opportunity to perhaps develop on the field with OCB. The Lions selected defenders at No. 17 and No. 46 in the draft and with Grassow’s departure, only fullback Abdi Salim remains to add depth to the back line from the team’s college selections. The other two Orlando City selections in the draft are forwards.
The hope was that Grassow could add some depth behind starters Antonio Carlos and Robin Jansson, as well as first-choice backup Rodrigo Schlegel. Thomas Williams remains the next depth player on the roster in a precariously thin-looking position group. Kyle Smith has been deputized in an emergency situation before, as has the now-departed Joao Moutinho.
We don’t know what Grassow’s personal reasons were and won’t speculate, but we wish the young man luck in whatever comes next for him.