With the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, FC Cincinnati selected goalkeeper Roman Celentano, addressing on Tuesday what is perhaps the club's greatest area of need.
Celentano comes to Cincinnati from Indiana University, a marquee NCAA Division I program where he excelled. Celentano was a two-time Big Ten Conference goalkeeper of the year award winner, and was the first player to ever receive the honor twice.
Celentano amassed a 37-10-5 record at IU. He allowed just 33 goals in 52 matches. He also helped Indiana advance to the 2020 NCAA Tournament College Cup national title game (the 2020 tournament was staged in spring 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
Following the selection made during the MLSSoccer.com live stream of the remote draft, first-year FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan was asked why the club went with a goalkeeper.
"An area of need," Noonan said. "He provides good depth. He's going to come in with good character (and) good upside... We've seen and heard a lot about him in the previous months, and he's going to be a nice piece to this team."
Celentano was named one of eight Generation Adidas contracted players ahead of the draft, meaning he signed his pro deal with MLS before being selected.
As an incentive to select those eight players, which are considered the elite members of the draft class, Celentano's salary won't count against the salary cap for FCC. The same is true of the other seven Generation Adidas players.
Celentano joins an FC Cincinnati goalkeeping group now under the direction of newly-hired head of goalkeepers, Paul Rogers.
As currently constituted, the four-man goalkeeping group at FC Cincinnati personnel at includes Celentano, veteran Kenneth Vermeer, the recently-acquired Alec Kann and Beckham Sunderland.
Sunderland is the first homegrown professional and academy product in FC Cincinnati's young history.
In being selected, Celentano became the fourth all-time first round draft selection by FC Cincinnati, following in the footsteps of Frankie Amaya (2019; No. 1 overall), Logan Gdula (2019; No. 13 overall) and Calvin Harris (2021; No. 2 overall).
FC Cincinnati didn't make a first-round selection in the 2020 SuperDraft, which was conducted under now-former FC Cincinnati general manager Gerard Nijkamp.
The 2022 SuperDraft was overseen by FC Cincinnati's new regime, which includes Noonan and General Manager Chris Albright, who said prior to the draft Cincinnati's strategy was to add value and depth to the roster.
The fifth-ever first round pick for FC Cincinnati came 12 selections later on Tuesday when the club announced Ian Murphy with the No. 14 pick.
Murphy is a Duke University product and 6-foot-2 center back. He was a veteran of 60 career appearances and 54 starts for the Blue Devils, which is one of the top programs in the historically deep Atlanta Coast Conference.
Murphy notched three goals and three assists during the 2018 season and tacked on two further assists the rest of his Duke career.
Hours after Charlotte FC kicked off the draft with the No. 1 overall selection in Ben Bender, FC Cincinnati rounded out its picks with one each in the second.
The club declined to make a selection at the No. 58 overall position.
With the 30th overall selection, Cincinnati took Nick Markanich out of Northern Illinois.
Markanich was twice named the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Player of the Year and scored 39 goals in 69 career games.
Markanich exploded with attacking firepower in the 2021 calendar year, which saw most programs play two separate seasons after the 2020 fall season was postponed due to COVID-19.
Over the spring and fall seasons played in 2021, Markanich scored 25 goals and added seven assists.
Markanich's twin brother and NIU teammate, Anthony, was selected in the first round at No. 26 overall by the Colorado Rapids.
FC Cincinnati's 2022 SuperDraft
• No. 2 overall pick (first round): Roman Celentano (goalkeeper; Indiana)
• No. 14 overall pick (first round): Ian Murphy (defender; Duke)
• No. 30 overall pick (second round): Nicholas Markanich (forward; Northern Illinois)
• No. 58 overall pick (third round): No selection/pass.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: FC Cincinnati picks Indiana's Roman Celentano No. 2 in MLS SuperDraft