Draft night can be a harrowing experience for any young athlete. The picks start moving, the clock keeps ticking, and your phone just won’t ring with that fateful call. It’s enough to drive some young men to become greats–multitudes of pros point to draft night falls as motivation for their entire careers.
For Jack Lynn, on the other hand, it was everything he could have wanted.
“I was ecstatic,” Lynn told us when asked about his draft night experience. “I was actually just over the moon to come to Orlando. I had a hunch that I was gonna end up here after I saw a lot of center backs come off the board and I was like ‘oh, I might fall,’ and I was kind of hoping I was falling too.”
Projected by some to go in the top 10, Lynn slipped to No. 18, where Orlando City eagerly snapped him up. Rather than go to a team higher in the draft with less stability and lower odds to contend, Lynn finds himself on an Orlando City roster that has been to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons and just added two Designated Players to its attack this offseason.
That roster will now officially include Lynn, after the former Notre Dame striker signed a professional contract with Orlando City on Wednesday.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Lynn. “When I was drafted I was super happy, but I knew that wasn’t the end of the road. I had to come in and prove myself and earn a contract, and I’m happy the coaching staff and the front office believed in me enough to sign me.”
Lynn scored 31 goals in four seasons with the Fighting Irish, including 14 as a senior. He’s harbored professional ambitions since childhood, but the pandemic threw a wrench into the pre-draft process
“With covid, all the meetings were over zoom, so you see the faces but you don’t get the in person interaction,” Lynn said. “But I loved talking to [Orlando City Head Coach] Oscar [Pareja] and the coaching staff here, and I felt really comfortable coming into this environment.”
Orlando quickly rose to the top of Lynn’s wish list after interviewing with the club before the draft.
“They were just really encouraging, really friendly,” said Lynn of Pareja and his staff, “and I think that they have a reputation for pushing players and getting the best out of their players, too. So I knew it was an environment I could come into and really improve.”
After an impressive camp, Lynn knows for sure he will be with the Lions when they open the 2022 Major League Soccer regular season on Sunday, February 27 at 1 p.m. against CF Montréal at Exploria Stadium.