Andy Mead

Houston Dynamo select Zach Steinberger, Oumar Ballo and Rob Lovejoy in 2015 MLS SuperDraft

(Above, from left: Lovejoy (No. 36 pick); Ballo (No. 30 pick); Steinberger (No. 8 pick). 

The Houston Dynamo selected midfielder Zach Steinberger, defender Oumar Ballo and midfielder/forward Rob Lovejoy in today’s MLS SuperDraft at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Houston selected Steinberger in the first round (No. 8 overall) out of Butler University. The California native was a four-year starter at Butler and earned all-conference honors in three seasons, including All-Big East first team in 2013. The midfielder attended IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida before moving to England at age 16 to play with Middlesbrough F.C.’s youth academy. Steinberger then played with youth teams in Kosice, Slovakia and Karlsruhe, Germany before moving back to the U.S. to attend Butler. The 22-year-old scored 14 goals and added 15 assists in four seasons with the Bulldogs.

"We are pleased with how the draft went today,” Dynamo vice president/general manager Matt Jordan said. “As a staff we worked hard to prepare for the draft and feel we've improved our team moving forward."

In the second round, the Dynamo acquired the No. 30 overall selection from Sporting Kansas City in exchange for future considerations. The Dynamo used the pick to select Ballo out of University of Maryland-Baltimore County. Ballo helped lead UMBC to the NCAA tournament College Cup (Final Four) in 2014 for the first time in program history. A two-time NSCAA-All American, Ballo was named America East Conference Defender of the Year in 2014. Born in Mali, Ballo moved to Baltimore at age 8 and played one season at CCBC Essex (junior college) before transferring to UMBC.

“It was a fantastic experience,” Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle said. “We are delighted with how it turned out, bringing in three talented young players.”

Later in the second round, Houston picked Lovejoy from the University of North Carolina with the No. 36 overall selection. The Greensboro, North Carolina native helped guide the Tar Heels to two NCAA College Cups (2010 2011) and started all 26 games as the Tar Heels won the 2011 NCAA national championship. The 23-year-old tallied 20 goals and 16 assists in 71 career games at UNC.

View the Dynamo's complete draft history

The draft will continue on Tuesday, Jan. 20 with the third and fourth rounds via conference call. The Dynamo have a selection in the third round, the No. 49 overall pick.

TRANSACTION: Houston Dynamo drafted MID Zach Steinberger, DEF Oumar Ballo and MID/FWD Rob Lovejoy

Position: Midfielder
Height: 5-11
Weight: 172
DOB: May 10, 1992
Hometown: San Diego, California
College: Butler University
Nationality: USA
How Acquired: Selected in the first round (No. 8 overall) of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft

Position: Defender
Height: 6-2
Weight: 190
DOB: April 2, 1991
Birthplace: Bamako, Mali
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
College: University of Maryland-Baltimore County
Nationality: Mali
How Acquired: Selected in the second round (No. 30 overall) of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft

Position: Midfielder/Forward
Height: 6-0
Weight: 165
DOB: October 23, 1991
Hometown: Greensboro, N.C.
College: University of North Carolina
Nationality: USA
How Acquired: Selected in the second round (No. 36 overall) of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft

The Dynamo begin preseason on Monday, Jan. 26 and open the 2015 season on Saturday, March 7 at BBVA Compass Stadium against Columbus Crew SC. Click here or call 713-276-GOAL for tickets for the club’s tenth season, including full-season plans starting at $380 and partial-season plans starting at $99.