MNUFC bolstered its defense with a pair of players from the University of Maryland in the first round of Friday’s MLS SuperDraft. With the seventh pick of the first round, the Loons selected goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair and then selected defender Chase Gasper with the 15th pick after acquiring the pick from Chicago Fire for $50,000 of GAM.
Both St. Clair and Gasper played for the 2018 NCAA Champion Maryland Terrapins. St. Clair did not allow a goal in the final 500 minutes of the season and at Maryland worked with coach Sasho Cirovski, who is known for his work with current USMNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen. At 6-foot-3-inches and 165 lbs, St. Clair brings length to the position and is a modern keeper who wants to play with the ball at his feet and be a distributor. The native of Pickering, Ontario, was named to the USC Third Team All-North Region.
“The first thing that jumps out at you is his sheer athleticism,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “He’s young for a goalkeeper — 22 — but he’s got everything. The people we spoke to believe he has unbelievable potential and at this moment, that’s what it is. But you’ve just seen Zack Steffen go to England — similar type of guy, went to Maryland — for $6 million. This kid’s got huge upside.”
Fullback and Virginia native Chase Gasper transferred to Maryland after three years at UCLA in order to be closer to his father who was dealing with a serious illness. According to his teammate (and roommate) St. Clair, Gasper was a rock for the team — the kind of defensive player you always want to have in front of you. The 6-foot, 185 lb Gasper also likes to get forward and help the attack down the left side of the field and was named to the Pacific 12 All-Freshman Second Team in 2014.
“The biggest thing for Chase is that we thought he was the most ready to go and play first-team football in the Draft,” said Heath. “This is one of the areas where we are a bit light. The people at Maryland, they couldn’t speak highly enough about him, his character. I think he’s going to come in and compete straightaway for a starting spot. He’s big, he’s strong, very good marker.”
Midfielder Hassani Dotson played his college soccer at Oregon State, where he was named to the USC Second Team All-Far West Region, the Second Team All Pacific 12 Conference and was a Pacific 12 Conference Academic Honorable Mention in his senior year. At 5-foot-11-inches and 170 lbs, Dotson has the potential to be a big presence in the defensive midfield position and provides the Loons depth at a position of need.
“Defensive midfield players now are becoming harder to find,” said Heath. “He’s a prospect, we’ve got a lot of work to do with him, but he’s got really good feet and he’s another kid that his college coach couldn’t speak highly enough about him.”
MNUFC also has two picks in the fourth round of the SuperDraft, which will take place on Monday, January 14.
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