UNCG’s Ngando and Conley Drafted in 2023 MLS SuperDraft

UNCG’s Ngando and Conley Drafted in 2023 MLS SuperDraft

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Sophomore J.C. Ngando and senior Ethan Conley of the UNC Greensboro (UNCG) men’s soccer team heard their names called during the 2023 Major League Soccer SuperDraft on Wednesday night.

Ngando was a first-round selection and fifth pick overall signing a contract with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, after being named to the 2023 Generation adidas class. He was just one of 11 distinguished college players in the class. Ngando was also the highest draft pick in program history, according to UNCG record books.

Conley earned a second round, 50th pick to the New York Red Bulls.

They are the second and third Spartans under the guidance of fourth-year Head Coach Chris Rich.

“Today is a special day for UNCG soccer and our university,” stated coach Rich. “To have a player drafted in the top five and another in the second round is just incredible.”

“Huge congratulations to both J.C. and Ethan! First and foremost, both are incredible people who are deserving of this opportunity. They are also top players who have represented UNCG at such a high level on the field. We are so proud of both of them! Let’s go Spartans!”

J.C. Ngando
Sophomore | Midfielder | Paris, France

1st Round, 5th Pick – Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Named to 2023 Generation adidas Class
Received invite to 2022 adidas MLS College Showcase
Played and started in 21 games this season
Scored 4 goals
Had 14 assists to lead the team
Tallied 22 points
Went 2-for-4 in penalty attempts.
United Soccer Coaches first team All-American
Named United Soccer Coaches MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist
United Soccer Coaches All-South Region first team
2022 SoCon Player of the Year
SoCon first team (2022, 2021)
2021 SoCon Freshman of the Year
SoCon All-Freshman Team (2021)
United Soccer Coaches All-South Region third team (2021)
CAREER: 36 games played, 9 goals, 22 assists, 40 points, 4 game-winning goals, 2-for-4 penalty kicks
From Ngando

“First of all I want to give the credit to the Jesus because none of this will be possible without him. I’m really grateful for the opportunity I received from Vancouver and I’m ready to give everything for this organization. Also I want to give a huge thank you to UNCG. I have so many people to thank there, I wouldn’t be able to be in this position today without the support and the love I received from UNCG, I will forever be a Spartan.”

From Rich

“We are so happy for J.C. To be a Generation Adidas signee and a top five draft pick, when there are so many incredible players in the country, is just special. Vancouver got a fantastic player, and a great human being. I cannot wait to see him represent our university in Major League Soccer!”

Ethan Conley

Senior | Defender | Wheaton, Illinois

2nd Round, 50th Pick – New York Red Bulls

All-SoCon second team defender, first career SoCon honor
Played in 21 games, started in 17
Scored one goal and one assist for three points this season
Scored his first-collegiate goal as the game-winning goal to upset then-ranked No. 18 Clemson 2-1
Won SoCon Defensive Player of the Week
Key piece of the Spartans’ defense
Assisted Spartans to six shutouts this season
UNCG has allowed 19 goals and 0.89 goals against average
Named 2022 team captain
Recognized on UNCG Dean’s List and earned a SoCon Commissioner’s Medal
2022 SAAC Mental Health Subcommittee President
2020-present SAAC President liaison between UNCG & Mercer Hill Church
CAREER: 71 games played, 1 goal, 5 assists, 7 points, 1 game-winning goal
From Conley

“The news was a crazy birthday present! God had a plan when He sent me to Greensboro and I couldn’t be more excited to continue to play with this recognition. There are too many people to thank, but a special thanks goes to my parents, coaches, teammates and my fiancée. Glory to God!”

From Rich

“We are so happy for Ethan. He represents our program daily at the highest level in all aspects, so he absolutely deserves this. This has been four years in the making him. I am proud he has developed into one of the best right backs in the country and earned himself this opportunity. We are fortunate to have him here to lead us through the 2023 season, but we’re excited to see him in the MLS soon enough!”

UNCG earned their ninth Southern Conference (SoCon) Regular Season title after a 4-0-1 conference mark and then won their fifth SoCon Tournament Title. The undefeated SoCon record was the first time since 2004, when the Spartans went 6-0-1.

The Tournament title helped the Spartans punch their 12th NCAA Division I Tournament bid. It was their 21st time in a NCAA Tournament, earning seven appearances in Division III and two at the Division II level.

After hosting Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament and tying 1-1, but advancing on penalty kicks 6-5, the Spartans faced No. 5 Stanford in California also tying, 1-1, but advancing on penalty kicks, 3-1. UNCG, never reaching the NCAA Division I Quarterfinals before, fell to No. 13 Indiana in Greensboro with a score of 2-0.

The 2022 campaign came to a close with UNCG’s fourth double crown in program history. The last time the Spartans won the double was 2006. The Spartans also won it in 2005 and 1998. UNCG concluded the season with a 13-2-6 overall mark.

Courtesy of Denise Archetto
Assistant Athletic Director For Strategic Communications
UNC Greensboro