The Houston Dynamo announced today the club has signed its three remaining 2015 MLS SuperDraft selections: Defenders Oumar Ballo and Taylor Hunter and midfielder Rob Lovejoy. The club now has signed all four of its 2015 draft selections after first-round pick Zach Steinberger signed on Jan. 15.
It marks the first time in Dynamo history the club has signed four draft picks in one draft class.
“We are pleased to announce the signings of our draft picks Rob Lovejoy, Taylor Hunter and Oumar Ballo,” Dynamo VP/general manager Matt Jordan said. “All three players are young and eager to grow within our system. We look forward to them joining our club as we prepare for the upcoming season.”
“We are delighted to welcome these three players to the club,” Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle said. “They have worked very hard and we look forward to their continued development.”
The Dynamo selected Ballo in the second round (No. 30 overall selection) out of University of Maryland-Baltimore County. The Mali native 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. The 6-foot-2 center back moved to Baltimore at age 8 and played one season at CCBC Essex (junior college) before transferring to UMBC. Ballo has appeared in two games this preseason.
Houston also picked Lovejoy in the second round (No. 36 overall) from the University of North Carolina. The 23-year-old helped guide the Tar Heels to two NCAA College Cups (2010, 2011) and started all 26 games as North Carolina won the 2011 NCAA national championship. The Greensboro, North Carolina native recorded 20 goals and 16 assists in 71 career games at UNC. Lovejoy has appeared in five games (two starts) this preseason and scored in his Dynamo preseason debut on Feb. 4 against the San Jose Earthquakes.
The Dynamo selected Hunter in the third round (No. 49 overall) out of the University of Denver. An Aurora, Colorado native, Hunter earned NSCAA All-West region third-team honors in 2014 after leading the Pioneers to their second consecutive Summit League championship. The 21-year-old was voted Summit League tournament MVP last season. The Finance major earned Summit League Academic All-League team honors for the second straight year in 2014. Hunter served as captain in 2014 as Denver reached the NCAA tournament in consecutive seasons for the first time in program history. The defender appeared in 69 games in four seasons with the Pioneers.
The Dynamo open the 2015 season on Saturday, March 7 at BBVA Compass Stadium against Columbus Crew SC. For tickets for the club’s tenth season, including full-season plans starting at $380 and partial-season plans starting at $99, click here or call 713-276-GOAL.
TRANSACTION: Houston Dynamo sign 2015 MLS SuperDraft selections DEF Oumar Ballo, MID Rob Lovejoy and DEF Taylor Hunter
Pronunciation: Omar Bal-oh
DOB: April 2, 1991
Birthplace: Bamako, Mali
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
College: University of Maryland-Baltimore County
How Acquired: Selected in the second round (No. 30 overall) of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft
DOB: October 23, 1991
Hometown: Greensboro, N.C.
College: University of North Carolina
How Acquired: Selected in the second round (No. 36 overall) of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft
DOB: July 7, 1993
Hometown: Aurora, Colorado
College: University of Denver
How Acquired: Selected in the third round (No. 49 overall) of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft