When Sean O’Hearn heard his name called in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, it came as a total surprise. A three-year starter at Georgetown University, O’Hearn signed a contract with Revolution II in November of 2020 and “didn’t even know” he’d be considered in the draft.
But Minnesota United––who reached the Western Conference Finals in 2020––selected the center back with their second-round pick, offering O’Hearn a chance to prove himself in preseason. Though a contract didn’t materialize, O’Hearn soaked in everything he could at the highest level of American soccer, preparing him nicely for his upcoming season with Revolution II.
“Going into preseason with an MLS team raises your level––that really helped me out,” O’Hearn said in a phone interview.
Now two games into the 2021 USL League One season, O’Hearn is flashing his potential. The rookie––who was named USL League One Player of the Week on April 12––has played every minute for Clint Peay’s team through two games, leading the roster in tackles (8) and duels won (13).
On a squad where experimentation and tinkering are commonplace––through two games, 21 players have featured for Revolution II––O’Hearn has been an exception to the rotation. Pairing with Francois Dulysse at center back, O’Hearn has registered 90 minutes in both games.
Building chemistry is a steep challenge on a developmental team like Revolution II, though it’s an obstacle that O’Hearn has already navigated. Currently ranking third in the USL League One in passes (145) and second in clearances (10), O’Hearn has also won 76.5% of his duels and 75% of his tackles.
O’Hearn’s success stems past the numbers, of course, but these metrics underscore his bright start to the season. A technically gifted center back with advanced passing range, O’Hearn is fluid in possession and skilled at finding the right pass. He’s also an aggressive defender who reads the game well and wins the majority of his duels.
O’Hearn noted his physical strength––he’s just 150 pounds––and communication skills as two areas he can work on, motivated to make the push to the first team. Though the path to a first-team contract is an uphill climb, especially when the first team boasts a strong defensive corps, O’Hearn still has confidence in his ability.
“Seeing two, three guys jumping up to the first team after a season is really inspiring,” O’Hearn said. “I think there’s a real possibility for me to do that. I’m looking forward to making my mark here at Revs II and hopefully getting an opportunity with the first team in the future.”
So far, Revolution II (1-1) has split their games, winning away at Fort Lauderdale CF and losing at home to Richmond Kickers.
The team is back in USL League One action on May 12, which will mark a 25-day gap between games. It’s a long bridge to cross, but O’Hearn is using the time to continue bonding with his teammates in training.
After a ninth-place finish in 2020 which saw the team finish 5-8-3, the roster is driven to qualify for the league playoffs. It’s an effort that’ll include everyone, especially O’Hearn, who’s emerging as a key piece at center back.
“As a team, we’re trying to be a lot better than we were last year,” O’Hearn said. “Last year was disappointing––they got off to a slow start and they didn’t make playoffs or anything. I think it’d be really important for us to get some wins under our belt and then make a push in the playoffs.”