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Kevin O’Toole ’22 selected by New York City FC in Major League Soccer SuperDraft

<h5>Kevin O’Toole against Fairfield at Sherrerd Field on September 15, 2021.</h5>
<h6>Shelley M. Szwast/goprincetontigers.com</h6>
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Kevin O’Toole against Fairfield at Sherrerd Field on September 15, 2021.
Shelley M. Szwast/goprincetontigers.com

Another Tiger is going pro. On Tuesday evening, Princeton men’s soccer captain Kevin O’Toole 22 was selected 34th overall by New York City Football Club (NYCFC) in the Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft. O’Toole’s selection follows the recent drafting of Bella Alarie 20 and Michael Sowers 20 into the Women’s National Basketball Association and Premier Lacrosse League, respectively.

After an undefeated League season, O’Toole joins the NYCFC squad who recently won the MLS Cup, the first in the club’s history. New York City FC plays its home games in Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, just an hour away from Princeton.

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The selection is no surprise to those familiar with O’Toole’s pedigree. The 5’10” senior from Montclair, N.J. was named the Ivy League offensive player of the year in 2018 and 2021. Additionally, he was a three-time First Team All-Ivy selection, being chosen in 2018, 2019, and 2021. Named National Player of the Week by United Soccer Coaches and TopDrawerSoccer.com in late October following his three goal, one assist performance against Harvard, O’Toole helped lead the Tigers to Ivy League titles in both 2018 and 2021. 

Over the course of his career, O’Toole scored 15 goals and accumulated 18 assists in 58 game appearances.

The new signing is an interesting turn of events for O’Toole, who trained with NYCFC’s rivals, the New York Red Bulls, across the Hudson at their New Jersey facility during his gap year in 2020. O’Toole was also a member of New York Red Bulls II, the MLS’ development team, which competes in the United Soccer League, the third tier of American soccer. During his time with Red Bulls II, O’Toole made 22 appearances, scoring one goal and helping to guide the team to the USL Cup Final in 2016 as a 17-year-old.

While success in the pros is never a guarantee, O’Toole wouldn’t be the first Princetonian soccer player to have such success at the next level. Bob Bradley ’80 has managed Swansea City and the U.S. Men’s National Team, and Jesse Marsch ’96 scored 31 goals in 321 MLS appearances, even making two appearances for the national team, before becoming a successful manager in Europe. Dave Vaudreuil ’88 played for over a decade professionally, too, and won two MLS Cups. 

O’Toole becomes the eleventh Princetonian drafted into the MLS, and is the first since Sean McSherry ‘19 was selected 78th overall by New York Red Bulls in 2019.

“Getting drafted was an amazing feeling and the first step in fulfilling a lifelong dream,” O’Toole told The Daily Princetonian. “I feel very thankful that NYCFC selected me with their pick, and I’m looking forward to proving myself in preseason. I loved playing for Princeton under Coach Barlow and Totten and couldn’t have arrived here without the support of my coaches and teammates, as well as my family and friends.”

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“I think Princeton has prepared me well for this new playing opportunity, as has my experience playing in NYRB academy and USL,” he continued. “I’m so thrilled for this new opportunity in New York City and can’t wait to get started.”

NYCFC will start their MLS schedule on Feb. 27 against the Los Angeles Galaxy. The date for O’Toole’s debut with the NYCFC is still unclear. 

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect more accurate MLS draft information. 

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