Lions draftee Duncan McGuire ready for new professional challenge


Courtesy of Orlando City

Duncan McGuire‘s journey to professional soccer has been anything but typical.

Just two years ago at the end of the 2021 season, the Creighton redshirt sophomore had scored just five total goals over his first two years of playing, while starting in just nine games.

Then came 2022, the year that would change everything for the young forward.

McGuire had arguably the best season in college soccer, scoring 23 goals in 24 games, leading his team to a BIG EAST Tournament title and the NCAA Men’s College Cup semifinals. Following the season, he was awarded the MAC Hermann Trophy, given to the United Soccer Coaches National Player of the Year.

“I just kind of took it one game at a time and didn’t try to think about what was really happening,” McGuire told the Orlando Soccer Journal, “I kind of just took it one game at a time and just stayed focused on the college season that I was having and just trying to make the most of it every game I could.”

Following all that success and despite having a year of eligibility left with Creighton, McGuire decided to use his breakout season as a springboard to the professional level, signing a pre-draft contract with MLS to guarantee his spot with an MLS roster after being drafted in the SuperDraft.

With the 6th overall pick, Orlando City picked the striker, adding him to a core group of forwards that will battle for playing time as the season progresses.

Through the preseason, McGuire has gotten minutes in every match thus far, whether starting or coming off the bench.

“It’s definitely a big step up from college but I’m enjoying it,” McGuire said, “It’s definitely a different level of play and the intensity is a lot different, but I’m enjoying it so far. The guys are all making practices a lot of fun. The locker room talk has been good and it’s definitely a good group of guys.”

McGuire has spent his early days with the Lions living with another top draftee, Duke forward and #2 overall pick Shak Mohammed. In fact, the two played each other when Creighton beat Duke in the NCAA College Cup quarterfinals, with McGuire scoring. Creighton would go on to lose in the semifinals to Syracuse and another Lions draftee, centerback Abdi Salim.

“I mean, it’s definitely nice having them on my team this time,” McGuire said, “Shak, he’s an exceptional player. I’ve given him a few little jabs about how we beat them in the tournament, but being on the same team now, we’ve been bonding well, so it’s definitely nice to have him on the team.”

As McGuire and the other rookies prepare for their first MLS season, which is set to start this Saturday against the New York Red Bulls, the forward is riding the confidence he gained from his last collegiate season into this new challenge.

“I know what I’m capable of now,” he said, “I know if I am in the right spots, I can put the ball in the back of the net. I know what I’m capable of, and having quality players around me like I do have here, I think it’ll be a good transition over.”

How much or how little playing time the rookie will have is still to be determined. Designated Player Ercan Kara, U-22 signing Ramiro Enrique, and last year’s first-round pick Jack Lynn will all be fighting for minutes alongside McGuire. Despite that challenge, the Creighton alum is confident in his ability to make a difference for the Lions and to score goals when he can.

“I work hard. Always. I try to make defenders’ lives miserable,” McGuire said, “Always just keep running, making their lives as hard as can be. I’m going to play to the final whistle. I’m gonna give it my all every time I’m out there and do everything I can to get a win.”

For more soccer news, follow the Soccer Journal on Twitter: @OSJSoccer


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