This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Huddled around a table with his teammates at a restaurant they frequent near the University of Denver campus, Reagan Dunk watched the live feed of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft in the same manner every player waits, hopes and prays his name eventually gets called out by the commissioner.
Dunk's lifelong goal came to fruition around 2:15 p.m. Friday.
The two-time All-American right back still was catching his breath an hour after being chosen No.13 overall by Real Salt Lake in the first round of the SuperDraft. "My heart," he said before pausing, "is still racing."
Dunk, a native of Dallas, helped steer the Pioneers to an NCAA Final Four appearance in 2016, starting in 23 of Denver's 24 matches. A two-time MAC Hermann semifinalist, Dunk also finished second in the program's history with 79 career appearances 74 of which were starts. Dunk was a staple on the Pioneer back line during his career at Denver, helping the team go from 106th in the country in goals against average to eclipsing the top five in each of his last two seasons.
Dunk posted a 59-13-11 record during his college career, including unbeaten regular-season campaigns in back-to-back seasons. Where he fits into the RSL picture doesn't seem all that fuzzy at the moment. RSL has been after a reliable young right back to develop behind stalwart Tony Beltran, a spot the organization has spent a couple of draft picks on in recent years, but they didn't pan out.
Dunk, who turns 23 on Feb. 8, said he's eager to get within earshot of Beltran this preseason and stay there.
"He's been in the league a long time, knows the ins and outs of it," Dunk said. "It'll be good for me to just see what he says."
RSL's newest outside back grew up 25 miles away from Frisco, Texas, where he attended Dallas Burn matches before the franchise eventually became FC Dallas in 2004. Asked what he knew about RSL before being drafted, Dunk, in his Texas drawl said, "I think it was 2009 that y'all won MLS Cup."
Four years in Denver acquainted him with the Rocky Mountain Rivalry between RSL and Colorado Rapids, too.
"It's been nerve-wracking, exciting, pretty much everything," Dunk said about the draft process. "I'm kind of speechless."
RSL general manager Craig Waibel snagged an old recruit in the second round. With the 35th overall pick, RSL chose University of Washington center back Justin Schmidt, who was projected by some pundits to be chosen by RSL with the No. 13 pick in the first round.
The 6-foot-1 center back started 67 matches during his career at Washington, scoring seven goals and assisting on 18 goals.
Position • Right back
Age • 22
School • Denver
Acquired • Drafted No. 13 overall by RSL in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft
Accolades • Two-time All-American, two-time MAC Hermann semifinalist
Stats • 79 career appearances, 74 starts, two goals, 18 assists