McGuire makes the move!

McGuire makes the move!

Rovers have FINALLY managed to reinforce their striking department, by securing the services of American international and striking prospect, Duncan McGuire, from Major League Soccer side, Orlando City, on an initial loan deal which could turn permanent in the summer.

With conflicting reports on the price of the deal floating around, The Athletic in the USA are reporting the deal is a $700k initial loan fee that could go up to $9.5m, if Rovers trigger the buy option.

The 22-year-old’s budding interest in ‘soccer’ grew from his time at Creighton University, where he played college football for his university side, the Creighton Bluejays where he was a huge hit throughout his tenure on campus. Despite being on the Bluejay’s squad since 2019, he was tactically omitted throughout the 2019 season – called ‘redshirting’ – to extend his year in the team & on campus to a five-year stint, rather than the usual four for a bachelor’s degree. Resultantly, McGuire would have to wait until 2021 – mainly because of the COVID-19 pandemic – to pull on a Bluejays kit for the first time.

Although his start with his university side was delayed, it was worth the wait for his fellow students as 6’1” McGuire hit the ground running in Creighton, netting 28 goals in 32 starts throughout his three seasons (2020-2022) on campus. His time on campus would conclude in the best possible way, as he notched a Conference Championship title, as well as a hattrick of individual awards, including ‘Best Offensive Player’ and the ‘Hermann Trophy’ – once won by our very own Brad Friedel – which is awarded to the best college soccer player in the entirety of the United States.

The Nebraskan-born attacker, who was selected by Orlando City in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft has been in red hot form for The Lions since joining them in December 2022 from Oregon-based side, Lane United, who ply their trade in the semi-professional fourth tier of the American pyramid, which is used for development. After hitting four goals in 11 games in the Beaver State, McGuire swapped the buckteeth of the Beavers for the rays of the Sunshine State, as he was officially unveiled to the Purple and Gold faithful in later February 2023.

McGuire didn’t even need to think twice about his role within the Orlando squad, as he hit the ground running, netting the opener on his debut in an eventual 1-1 draw with Wayne Rooney’s DC United as he played all 90 minutes, before notching an assist in game two, despite only playing 67 minutes. McGuire would then play a bit-part role for then next three games with 15 minutes the most he’d play, but his impact remained on the City side as he netted an 88th minute winner in a 2-1 victory over Minnesota United, before again finding the net against DC United in the next game after being rewarded with a start.

The attacker’s influence over the Sunshine side held grip over the course of the campaign as he ended his maiden MLS season with 13 goals and three assists in 29 appearances – (16 of which were starts) – as Orlando stormed to 2nd place in the Eastern Conference, which qualified them for the end of season playoffs, yet despite beating Nashville over two legs, eventual winners, Columbus Crew got the better of McGuire & his Lions via a 2-0 AET score. Despite being thrown in at the deep end, straight out of university, straight into the hectic first-team environment of the MLS, McGuire has clearly managed to swim and not sink at the upper echelons of American football.

His high level of performances over the course of the 2023 MLS campaign did enough to catch the eyes of his national team. Despite only making his international bow for the Stars and Stripes’ under-23s team towards the end of the domestic MLS season, as he made his debut for the under-23s, playing 73 minutes in an eventual 2-1 win over Mexico on the 12th October 2023, before netting his first international goal to round off a 4-1 win against Japan, six days later. McGuire’s fine form for both Orlando and the under-23s proved prolific enough to earn him a spot in The Yanks’ senior squad, as controversial coach, Gregg Berhalter named McGuire as part of his January 2024 training camp squad which included a plethora of debutants. Resultantly, McGuire made his initial bow for the Americans as a second-half substitute, playing 28 minutes in a 1-0 friendly loss to Slovenia.

Despite only being 22-years of age, McGuire – who will wear #50 at Ewood – has now been afforded with a lot of faith as he makes his first trip into England. Rovers fans will be hoping that their new found attacker can further his development using the undoubtedly superior facilities and focus, here in England, as Jon Dahl Tomasson looks to welcome his latest addition.

After the mania that ensued overnight with it looking like Rovers had lost out on the forward to Sheffield Wednesday, a very relieved Gregg Broughton, Rovers’ Director of Football, discussed his side’s latest overseas addition:

“We are really pleased to have secured the signing of Duncan McGuire.

“A Nebraska boy, whose rise to the MLS is a great story and now we hope to continue that trajectory with Blackburn Rovers.

“Quick, with good movement and a great finisher, Duncan has all of the attributes needed to follow in the footsteps of the many great strikers who have worn our famous colours.

“I have to give our recruitment team great credit for identifying him, tracking his progress and convincing him that this was the perfect next move for him in his career.”

Howdy, Duncan! ??