Former Pitt defender Jasper Löeffelsend was selected by Real Salt Lake in the 2022 MLS draft on Tuesday. Löeffelsend was selected in the third round with the 81st overall pick, and he was the second Pitt alum off the board.
Löeffelsend came to Pitt in 2020 and made an instant impact with his unselfish play, as he logged nine assists in addition to contributing to the team’s defensive efforts. Those nine assists led the team and ranked fourth in the nation, and for his efforts, Löeffelsend earned a place on the All-ACC first team and multiple All-America second teams. He was also named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
The German defender only improved on his first-year figures in 2021, as he scored two goals and once again recorded nine assists. However, he only needed 17 games to accrue those totals, while he needed 19 the previous season. As a result, Löeffelsend earned the same honors once again, most notably repeating as the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. But he was also elevated to first-team All-American status by College Soccer News.
In Salt Lake City, Löeffelsend will join a team on the rise, as Real Salt Lake went 14-14-6 and made the Western Conference final after a seventh-place conference finish. The previous season, Real Salt Lake finished second-to-last, after going 5-10-7. Löeffelsend could prove to be a savvy addition for the Utah club, as its improvement is contingent on adding to its goal total while fielding a stout defense, and the German can help on both fronts.
With his selection on Tuesday, Löeffelsend became the fifth Pitt alum to be chosen in the MLS draft and the second to go in 2022. The first to come off the board on Tuesday was fellow defender Arturo Ordoñez, who went to the Houston Dynamo. The two were preceded by Pol Planellas, who went to Los Angeles FC in 2018; Javi Perez, who went to Los Angeles FC in 2019; and Edward Kizza, who went to the New England Revolution in 2021. All five of Pitt’s MLS draft selections have come during the tenure of Pitt head coach Jay Vidovich.