Luka Gavran was taken by Toronto FC. (Photo courtesy of St. John’s)
QUEENS, N.Y. – Three St. John’s University men were selected in Tuesday’s MLS SuperDraft.
FC Dallas took Lucas Bartlett with the sixth pick, Minnesota United FC selected Tani Oluwaseyi 17th overall and Toronto FC tabbed Luka Gavran with the 31st vhoice.
“I’m so happy for Lucas, Tani and Luka on being selected in the MLS SuperDraft,” St. John’s head coach Dr. Dave Masur said in a statement. “Each one of these young men has worked incredibly hard and given so much to this program and this University. I speak for everyone at St. John’s when I say that I’m so proud of what they’ve accomplished and I can’t wait to see them succeed at the next level.”
The Red Storm’s three selections tied a program record set in 2006 when Matt Groenwald, Andre Schmind and Jeff Carroll were picked following the Johnnies’ seventh Big East Championship. Multiple Johnnies were also drafted in 2002, as Shalrie Joseph and Jeff Matteo were both taken in the top 20 that year.
Bartlett became the highest MLS SuperDraft pick in St. John’s men’s soccer history, six spots higher than MAC Hermann Trophy winner Chris Wingert in 2004 to Columbus. Before Tuesday, only four St. John’s players had been taken in the top 17: Wingert, Tim Parker (13th, 2015), Shalrie Joseph (14th, 2002) and Jesse Van Saun (17th, 1998).
St. John’s has produced 15 MLS SuperDraft picks since 1998, including four in the last three years. Niko Petridis was the last Johnnie taken in 2020, going in the fourth round to the Red Bulls.
Bartlett left a sizeable mark on the Red Storm program despite suiting up for just one season. The Overland Park, Kan., native started all 20 matches for the Johnnies this past year, playing 1,849 out of a possible 1,896 minutes. Despite playing on the back line, Bartlett tied for the team lead in goals, finding the back of the net five teams and dishing out three assists to finish second on the squad with 13 points. Three of his five goals were game-winners. He also anchored a Red Storm defensive unit that led the nation in shutout percentage (0.60) and finished fifth in team goals against average (0.63).
Bartlett was named to the All-Big East first team and earned a spot on the United Soccer Coaches All-Region second team. The graduate student was one of 44 players invited to the MLS College Showcase.
He came to New York following a five-year career that spanned stints at Drake University and Loyola Chicago.
Oluwaseyi was one of the most prolific careers in the storied history of St. John’s men’s soccer. After scoring four goals and earning a spot on the Big East All-Freshman Team in 2018, Oluwaseyi burst onto the national scene as a sophomore in 2019. He became the first Johnnie in more than two decades to win Big East offensive player of the year accolades after becoming the program’s first double-digit goal scorer since 2003.
While leading the Red Storm to a 14-5-1 record and an appearance in the NCAA Division I Round of 16 for the first time since 2008, Oluwaseyi registered a league-leading 11 goals and five assists. During the abbreviated 2021 spring season, Oluwaseyi tallied five goals and three assists in just nine appearances, earning a spot on the All-Big East first team for the second consecutive year.
The Mississauga, Ontario, product logged just two appearances this fall due to injury, battling his way back to the pitch for the Red Storm’s regular season finale and Big East Tournament quarterfinal match against Butler University
Gavran earned his selection following a redshirt junior season that saw emerge as one of the nation’s top goalkeepers. After splitting time in 2019 and the spring of 2021, Gavran took over the Red Storm’s full-time duties in net this fall and promptly led the nation in shutouts (12) and save percentage (.844) while compiling the third-best goals against average in Division I (0.57).
The Hamilton, Ontario, product became the third Johnnie in program history to be named Big East goalkeeper of the year before earning All-American honors from both United Soccer Coaches (third team). He played every minute between the pipes this season, leading the Red Storm an 11-6-3 record, a third-place finish in the Big East regular season and the 22nd NCAA Tournament appearance in program history.
In 28 appearances during the 2019 and spring 2021 seasons, Gavran played a part in 12 combined shutouts alongside 2019 BIG EAST Co-Goalkeeper of the Year and 2021 First Team All-American Jan Hoffelner.