12.22 Draft Breakdown

FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas added to its attacking potential by selecting three forwards in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft Wednesday evening. The club chose Indiana University standouts Herbert Endeley and Ryan Wittenbrink in the first and second rounds respectively. Dallas finished by selecting former FCD Academy attacker Kameron Lacey out of UNC Charlotte.

Dallas’s decision makers had to wait nearly two hours to make their first selection with the 24th overall pick as the early draft saw a handful of trades and timeouts. But once they were on the clock, they chose quickly: Indiana attacker Herbert Endeley. The Blaine, Minnesota native was a four-year starter on the wing for IU, scoring 13 goals and adding 20 assists. Endeley’s speed and work rate opens the door to a transition to fullback, as fellow first-round pick Ema Twumasi has successfully done since his selection in 2018. Isaiah Parker, Dallas’ top pick in last year’s draft, is on a similar trajectory having played winger in college but mainly left back since going pro.

“I think he's very versatile, very dynamic,” said FCD head coach Nico Estévez. “He’s really good 1v1, has power and speed and we see a lot of potential in him playing as a winger and as a fullback.

“We’ll have to wait a little bit to see his qualities in preseason and make a decision on his position, as we did with Isaiah (Parker). He has really good qualities for MLS and think working with him closely during the preseason will give us more information to find the right position for him that can help the team.”

In the second round, Dallas returned to Indiana University to select Ryan Wittenbrink 52nd overall. The 23-year-old played all across Indiana’s front line but mainly featured as a left winger during his breakout senior season (11 goals, 13 assists). At 6-foot-1, though, Dallas’ coaching staff can see him featuring as a center forward at the professional level.

“I think I bring a high soccer IQ and a good ability to separate myself in terms of creating chances, whether that's scoring goals or getting assists,” Wittenbrink told FCDallas.com. “I think I can go both ways when going at guys 1v1, I’m good with both feet on both sides. And I also pride myself on being a two-way player who can defend and attack.”

FC Dallas brought back one of its own with the selection of former FCD Academy player Kameron Lacey out of Charlotte with its final pick. Lacey featured for Dallas’ U15, U16 and U17 teams before joining Orlando City prior to his collegiate career (he also represented Jamaica at the U17 and U20 levels). It’s not the first time Dallas has opted to bring back a former Academy player after the first two rounds, having drafted fellow FCD youth players Mark Salas and Giovanni Montesdeoca in 2021.

“Once we saw my name get called it was amazing, especially because it was by FC Dallas,” Lacey said. “It just meant like the world to me. I was like, ‘wow, I can come back home, and I can play in Frisco, play a Toyota Stadium.’ And I mean, it just was amazing.”

All three draft picks will be evaluated once FCD convenes for preseason next month and some could see playing time with North Texas SC, the club's second team, as they continue their development.