LOS ANGELES (denverpioneers.com) -- University of Denver men's soccer two-time All-American right back Reagan Dunk was selected by Real Salt Lake with the No. 13 overall pick and two-time captain Sam Hamilton was selected by the Colorado Rapids with the No. 15 overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft, presented by adidas.
Denver is one of three programs to have two players drafted in the first round this year (Connecticut, UCLA).
"It speaks volumes about our number one value as a coaching staff, which is development," head coach Jamie Franks said. "Our goal is to prepare our student-athletes for life after college and in this particular case, prepare them for their soccer careers. To be able to facilitate that for these two, and Kortne Ford earlier this month, has been a fantastic moment for our coaching staff. I couldn't be more proud of all three student-athletes, and I look forward to watching them play at the next level. "
Dunk and Hamilton are the latest of eight Pioneers to be drafted in the last nine seasons. The duo joins 2014 captain Taylor Hunter (Houston – 49th overall – 2015), Zach Bolden (Chicago Fire – 61st overall - 2014), Drew Beckie (Columbus Crew – 28th overall - 2013), Joe Willis (D.C. United – 50th overall - 2011), Kris Banghart (Real Salt Lake – 64th overall – 2010) and Kyle Christensen (Chivas USA – 35th overall - 2009) as the Pioneers selected in the last nine MLS SuperDrafts. In the last two seasons, Kortne Ford (Colorado Rapids – 2017) and Jordan Schweitzer (Seattle Sounders – 2016) have signed homegrown deals with their academy parent clubs.
A two-time MAC Hermann Semifinalist and a 2016 First Team All-America selection, Dunk finished second in Denver's Division I history with 79 CAPS, starting 74 of those appearances. The Dallas, Texas, native netted two goals and tallied 18 career assists, a mark good for third in Denver's Division I record books.
With his first order of business after being named the head coach ahead of the 2015 season, Franks made Hamilton captain of the Pioneers, a role that has seen him lead Denver to back-to-back unbeaten regular seasons, the first program to do so since 1977-78. Hamilton finished with 83 collegiate appearances, becoming the most capped player in Denver's Division I history.
"The Rapids have done a fantastic job of staying connected and watching our student-athletes grow throughout their careers in the Rapids' backyard," Franks said. "Our relationship with the Rapids is so important and with 17 Colorado kids next year, we hope that this is a relationship that will only continue to grow going forward."
Hamilton, Dunk and their Denver classmates finished 59-13-11 over the last four seasons, the third best mark in the country during that span. DU's senior class also claimed four-straight Summit League Regular Season and Tournament titles, and matched the program record for wins in a season with 20 in 2016 (1988-NAIA).
Hamilton and Dunk have helped flip the script on Denver's defense in the last two seasons, going from 106th in the country in goals against average in 2014 to cracking the top five in each of the last two seasons under Franks. In 2015, the Pioneers kept a 0.40 goals against average (2nd nationally), a 0.63 shutout percentage (2nd) and allowed just 2.5 shots on goal per game.
In 2016, Denver's defense finished third in the country in goals against average (0.52), third in shutout percentage (0.58) and did not allow a shot on goal in five matches.
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Celebrating its 35th season of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of over 120,000 at nine institutions, including four located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis), North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced eight NCAA Champions along with over 80 Academic All-Americans, 75 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit www.thesummitleague.org website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague and watch the weekly "Inside The Summit League" show at www.thesummitleague.org/itsl.