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Former McDonogh soccer star Michael DeShields is selected in first round by D.C. United in Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft

Former McDonogh soccer standout Michael DeShields has long been chasing his dream to play professional ball and it turns out he’ll be doing just that not too far from home.

On Thursday afternoon, the Baltimore native was selected by D.C. United with the fifth overall pick in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft. He was United’s second pick in the first round, who traded up to select him.

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DeShields, a central defender and 2016 McDonogh graduate, was a four-year starter at McDonogh who went on to enjoy three strong years at Wake Forest.

“I honestly can’t imagine a more exciting day in my life right now. It’s an incredible experience,” DeShields said a few hours after Thursday’s selection. “There’s so much unexpected things that can happen in the SuperDraft and it happened right before my eyes and I honestly didn’t believe it when I first saw it. So that’s kind of how I feel. Now, I’m kind of calmed down and relaxed a little bit, but it’s still pretty surreal. I’m rockin’ the DC hat and the scarf and I’m representing — staying home is awesome.”

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At McDonogh, DeShields was part of two unbeaten Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship teams. As a sophomore, he headed home the game-winning goal with 10 seconds left as the Eagles claimed a 1-0 win over St. Paul’s in the 2013 title game, completing a 21-0-1 season.

He finished as a two-time All-Metro first-team selection and was the 2015-16 Gatorade Maryland Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

Following Thursday’s selection, D.C. United general manager Dave Kasper described DeShields as a “tough and athletic defender who will translate well to the professional game.”

McDonogh coach Brandon Quaranta saw DeShields’ potential back in his high school days and as his game continued to grow at Wake Forest.

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“When he was as a younger player, I think he could have been a top athlete in just about any sport he wanted to play. Big, strong, fast, dynamic — he has all the qualities of an athlete that you want to combine with that competitiveness,” Quaranta said. “But the most impressive thing to me at the end of his high school career and then when he took off during his career at Wake Forest was his ability to position himself, read the game and add composure to all those other elements. So you’re combining a top-level athlete and now you’re adding that intelligence factor and soccer IQ for reading the game at a high level and what you have is a very special player.”

After redshirting his freshman year at Wake Forest, DeShields was a regular fixture in the Deacons’ back line for three seasons before a neck injury cost him his senior year in 2020.

In 2019, he was named to the All-South Region second team after anchoring a Deacons’ defense that averaged 0.72 goals against per game.

In November 2020, he signed with the New England Revolution II of the United Soccer League, but made no appearances for the team.

Southern grad drafted: Louisville midfielder Elijah Amo, a Lothian resident who played club soccer in high school, was drafted by Real Salt Lake with the No. 7 pick in the second round. Amo played four seasons for Louisville, leading the team with three goals in six games this past fall.

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