HOUSTON - In the 2020 MLS SuperDraft the Houston Dynamo used the eighth overall pick to select Garrett McLaughlin out of Southern Methodist University. The 22-year-old forward from Oklahoma scored 15 goals in 17 appearances for SMU in 2019.
McLaughlin saw action in 76 games with 68 starts during his four-year career at Southern Methodist University. The forward scored 37 goals and tallied 13 assists with the Mustangs and earned an American Athletic Conference First Team honor in 2019. The Oklahoma native finished his senior season as the team’s leading goal-scorer with 16 goals, finishing second in the AAC and seventh in the NCAA.
Dynamo head coach Tab Ramos says the versatility of McLaughlin was a shining point for selecting him.
"A very dynamic forward. We think for us he can play any of the three positions up top," Ramos said of his first pick as manager of the Dynamo, during the live stream of the MLS SuperDraft on ESPN+. "He presses well and that is something that we really liked."
After getting selected by the Dynamo and emotional McLaughlin thanked his parents for helping him get to this position in his career.
"It’s been a long road. A kid from Oklahoma doesn’t get many of these opportunities and may get overlooked, but I’m happy to be here," McLaughlin said. "My parents drove me all over the country playing club soccer, always having to take time off doing stuff, and it’s just really special for me and for them as well."
Staying in the state of Texas where he played his collegiate soccer, Garrett won't be completely alone when he makes the trip from Dallas to Houston, former teammate at SMU, Dynamo goalkeeper Michael Nelson will be here to congratulate and help McLaughlin learn the professional ropes.
"It can be intimidating at first because it’s a brand new team and a new level," Nelson said. "There are guys from all over the world that you don’t know, some of them speak other languages. Everybody is very approachable and we’re all in this together."
Nelson saw the talent when he was teammates with McLaughlin, "Garrett is very instinctive – he’s got a good nose for goal. I just remember him being very hard-working and very humble. He does a lot of dirty work for the team that doesn’t really show up on the stats sheet. He’s a great goalscorer and finds himself in very good positions to find opportunities."
In the second round, the Houston Dynamo selected Luka Prpa a midfielder out of Marquette University with the 34th overall pick.
Prpa led Marquette in the midfield starting in 60 of 66 games played throughout his four-year collegiate career. The midfielder scored 18 goals and tallied 21 assists, earning All-Big East Second Team in 2019 and 2017, as well as All-Big East First Team in 2018.