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2024 NYCFC Player Preview: Kevin O’Toole

The 2022 MLS SuperDraft second-round pick has emerged as NYCFC's starting left-back.

NYCFC left0back Kevin O'Toole in 2024 preseason Training | Courtesy
Name: Kevin O’Toole
Position: Left-back
Age: 25
Key Stat: 81% – that’s the pass completion rate of the native of Montclair, NJ

Kevin O’Toole was selected by New York City FC in the second round of the 2022 MLS SuperDraft as the 34th overall pick, and signed with the club soon after. He is one of the few NYCFC draft picks to make an impact in the First Team, and the only one selected in the second round to see minutes in MLS.

Before his time in New York City, O’Toole played college soccer at Princeton University, where he operated as a winger and left-midfielder. He made 59 appearances with the Tigers, adding 15 goals and 18 assists. His attacking abilities were rewarded as he was the two-time Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year and was a United Soccer Coaches First Team-All American. 

Depth, or starter?

At the end of the 2022 season, O’Toole was the starter for choice for head coach Nick Cushing. But NYCFC brought in left-back Braian Cufré on loan from Mallorca before the start of the 2023 season, and he was in the Starting XI for the first three games of the season. 

Throughout 2023, Cufré and O’Toole battled for the starting spot, but Cufré was more favored by Cushing. That is, until the end of the season. Cufré’s last start was on Sept. 16, 2023, against the New York Red Bulls. O’Toole was on the match day lineup card for the rest of the year. He seemingly won the spot for 2024 after Cufré returned to Mallorca. O’Toole recently signed a contract extension with NYCFC through 2025 with an option for the 2026 season. 

Full-back, or attacker?

Despite O’Toole being used primarily as an attacker in college, Cushing successfully switched him to a full-back. O’Toole finished the 2023 season with 14 interceptions and 34 clearances, and completed 54.5 percent of his tackles. O’Toole still contributed offensively, as he had 26 shot-creating actions and had an expected assisted goals (xAG) of 1.4 per game. He also completed 81 percent of his passes and had 846 total touches. 

After the 1-0 win against Chicago Fire on Decision Day, O’Toole spoke on what led to his successful 2023 season.

“I just wanted to build on the way last season ended and had to stay patient again which is kind of part of the process but I think when I was in I did a good job and hopefully we can build on it for next year.” 

O’Toole should continue to improve next season and will play a big role in New York’s defense.