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UCLA men’s soccer’s Grayson Doody, Tucker Lepley picked in 2024 MLS SuperDraft

Senior defender Grayson Doody runs after the ball. Doody was selected 10th overall by CF Montreal in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft. (Jake Greenberg-Bell/Daily Bruin staff)

By Matthew Royer

Dec. 19, 2023 6:24 p.m.

This post was updated Dec. 19 at 7:49 p.m. 

Two Bruins were selected Tuesday in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft.

CF Montreal drafted Grayson Doody with the 10th pick in the first round. The senior defender is the highest Bruin draft pick since Nashville SC took defender Ahmed Longmire with the 10th pick in the 2022 SuperDraft. The LA Galaxy drafted redshirt junior Tucker Lepley with the fourth pick of the third round, making him No. 62 overall. The duo are UCLA men’s soccer’s 83rd and 84th all-time MLS draft picks.

Doody played primarily as a right back at UCLA across his four seasons and capped off his college career filling in at center back after Pietro Grassi started the season injured, with Doody starting all 18 games. Under his defensive leadership, the Bruins conceded only 1.06 goals per game alongside his teammates en route to an undefeated conference record and Pac-12 championship.

Coach Ryan Jorden said Doody’s growth over the past four years has allowed him to progress as a player.

“He’s got good tactical flexibility,” Jorden said. “Grayson has steadily put himself in a situation where he’s grown, and his ability playing multiple positions, I think, will be an asset for him.”

Lepley – named a third-team All-American by United Soccer Coaches on Monday – started for the Bruins in the past three seasons. This year’s UCLA captain led the team in points in 2021, and despite a late start in 2022 due to an injury, he provided a crucial impact on the Bruins’ postseason run by scoring the winning goal to upset then-No. 12 Clemson in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

In the most recent campaign, Lepley started all 18 matches for UCLA, totaling three goals and two assists.

Redshirt junior midfielder Tucker Lepley pushes the ball forward. Lepley was selected 62nd overall by the LA Galaxy in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft. (Jake Greenberg-Bell/Daily Bruin staff)

Lepley, who now has the opportunity to stay in Los Angeles, previously played club soccer with Sporting Kansas City, making appearances with Sporting Kansas City II – the MLS Next Pro and then-USL Championship affiliate of the MLS club.

Jorden said Lepley’s prior experience playing at a higher level led him to a role in leadership and versatility on the field at UCLA.

“In Tucker’s case, I think it helped his transition,” Jorden said. “We tried to give him freedom. And we tried to give our team freedom to see the game and to have positional responsibility. I think that allows him at the next level to probably be able to have an effectiveness in many different roles.”

Doody and Lepley still have collegiate eligibility should they choose not to participate in professional team activities beginning in January.

No Bruins were selected in the 2023 draft. However, in 2022, two UCLA defenders were drafted – Longmire and Ben Reveno by Nashville SC and New England Revolution, respectively. In 2021, Vancouver Whitecaps FC selected midfielder Eric Iloski. 

Other Bruins eligible in the draft but not selected were redshirt junior forward Jose Contell, junior defender Pietro Grassi, senior defender Pablo Greenlee, senior forward Andre Ochoa and graduate student defender Owen Schwartz.

Notably absent was senior defender Tommy Silva, who did not declare for the draft. Jorden said Silva can sign with Real Salt Lake because of the homegrown player rules in MLS.

The 2024 SuperDraft was the first year that college sophomores and juniors were eligible to be drafted, which Grassi took advantage of. Selected draftees who opt to return to college are not eligible to reenter the draft.

Doody and Lepley will not be the only Bruins potentially heading to professional soccer. Graduate student forward Jack Sarkos signed an MLS Next Pro contract Tuesday with Crown Legacy FC – an affiliate of Charlotte FC. Sarkos led UCLA with nine goals this season and also tallied two assists in 15 matches.

“He obviously has really good goals-scoring instincts,” Jorden said. “I enjoyed watching him, even for a short period of time.”

Jorden said clubs interested in Sarkos understood his potential and added that he was glad UCLA could play a role in his development.

Sarkos and graduate student midfielder Ryan Becher were not eligible for the draft after entering the player pool for last year’s SuperDraft.

Former Bruin goalkeeper Nate Crockford – who transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Madison last year with his brother, midfielder Charlie Crockford – was drafted by D.C. United with the seventh pick in the third round, making him No. 65 overall.

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Matthew Royer | National news and higher education editor
Royer is the 2023-2024 national news and higher education editor. He is also a Sports staff writer on the men’s soccer and softball beats. He was previously the 2022-2023 city and crime editor and a contributor on the features and student life beat. He is also a fourth-year political science student minoring in labor studies from West Hills, California.
Royer is the 2023-2024 national news and higher education editor. He is also a Sports staff writer on the men’s soccer and softball beats. He was previously the 2022-2023 city and crime editor and a contributor on the features and student life beat. He is also a fourth-year political science student minoring in labor studies from West Hills, California.
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