On Wednesday, English club Blackburn Rovers F.C. announced the signing of striker Duncan McGuire via loan from Orlando City SC, with an option for Rovers to permanently sign McGuire at the end of the season.
This comes after scoring an extremely successful first year as a professional soccer player, that saw him score 13 goals in all competitions for Orlando City.
His journey began well before he was selected in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft, though - before then, in the summer of 2022, he committed to play in USL League Two for Lane United FC. In that season, his only with the club, he contributed to seven goals in 11 appearances.
Duncan McGuire dribbling the ball in a match against PDX FC in 2022
His first goal for the club came in a losing effort to Ballard FC, scoring Lane United's only goal in a 5-1 loss. Against Oly Town FC soon after, however, it was his distribution turning heads as he assisted both goals in a 2-0 victory against their Northwest opponents.
He would go on to score three more goals and provide another assist in the summer season. He would only continue to get better from there.
After his productive League Two experience, his path to stardom instantly accelerated from there. In the ensuing NCAA season for Creighton, McGuire broke out on a national stage, being awarded the MAC Hermann Trophy for his successful final season with the Bluejays.
He led Creghton to the College Cup Semifinal behind a scoring season that saw him showered in accolades left and right, including leading all NCAA Division I players in goals scored.
"I am absolutely thrilled for Duncan. This is a big step for him, but I have no doubt he's up for it," John Galas, Lane United Head Coach and Sporting Director, said. "He has great talent, but more than that he's a young man with a great work ethic and I am sure the coaching staff at Blackburn will enjoy working with him as much as I did at Lane United."
Now, McGuire takes all his experiences into a new challenge. Continuing his upward trajectory since his time at Lane United FC, McGuire will hope to make an instant impact for the Rovers, currently sitting 18th in the EFL Championship table.
"It's always great to see players move so quickly from our league into impactful professional roles." Joel Nash, USL Senior Vice President of Youth and Pre-Professional Properties, said. "It's a credit to clubs like Lane United that provide high level training, competition and exposure to these guys. We saw a similar instance with Nathaniel Opoku last January. It's incredibly promising and we're proud to call Duncan an alum of the League Two pathway."
Duncan McGuire is all smiles for Lane United FC // Photo courtesy of Barbara Minkler