When you walk into men’s soccer head coach Nick Carlin-Voigt’s office, two things immediately stand out. They’re both the Major League Soccer jerseys of former Portland Pilots Benji Michel and Kris Reaves.
Now, Carlin-Voigt has the chance to add another jersey.
After four seasons on The Bluff, Portland Pilots midfielder Rey Ortiz was drafted with the 29th pick in the MLS SuperDraft by FC Cincinnati. He is the fourth Pilot in the last three seasons to go to the MLS, with Kris Reaves and Paul Christensen joining the league after the 2017 season and Benji Michel doing so after the 2018 season.
"I'm very excited to be a part of FC Cincinnati," Ortiz said in a press release. "They put their trust in me and I will work as hard as I can to help in any way I can. I am still in shock that I got drafted today. It's a dream come true to my family and I am very excited to start working with the staff and players.”
Ortiz had a stellar career during his time with the Pilots. He led Portland with 13 points last season off three goals and seven assists and ranks seventh all-time in career assists at 24. In 2017, Ortiz’s 13 assists were one shy of the program single-season record but ranked third in the nation.
Ortiz was selected to the MAC Hermann Player of the Year Trophy Watch list twice and also earned All-American honors in 2017. He was All-WCC first team twice in 2017 and 2019 as well as second team All-WCC in 2018. He earned All-West region first team honors in 2017 and 2018 and second team honors this past fall.
Carlin-Voigt was out of town with his family when he watched the SuperDraft. While he has certainly enjoyed having the talented midfielder on his team these past four years, he was surprised to see Ortiz drafted so high, especially to an expansion team.
“I had known before he was going to get drafted by FC Dallas if he had fallen that far,” Carlin-Voigt said. “Cincinnati had called me and talked about him but I wasn’t sure they were going to take him, so for Rey Ortiz from the University of Portland to be Cincinnati’s first pick in the MLS draft, I believe speaks volumes to the type of character, integrity and talent that Rey developed here.”
Ortiz helped Carlin-Voigt accomplish several things during their time together, including a conference championship and playoff appearance in 2016, as well as their first trip to the second round of the NCAA playoffs since 2009 against UCLA in 2018.
Even then, despite the numerous individual and team accolades, there’s one accomplishment that stands out among the rest to Carlin-Voigt.
“I think the thing that made me most proud, more than any of the accomplishments on the field, absolutely was when he sent me a photo of his degree,” said Carlin-Voigt of Ortiz, who graduated in the fall with a degree in organizational communication. “That was the number one moment of epiphany, of ‘Okay, he made it.’”
For Carlin-Voigt, Ortiz’s selection in the SuperDraft is bigger than just a good soccer player getting drafted.
“Rey just transcended just being a men’s soccer player,” Carlin-Voigt said. “What he was really good at was breaking barriers, getting across campus, bringing life and ideas to other people and also learning from other people...That just speaks to the mission of the institution and the power of ‘And.’ You can be a student-athlete and you can become a professional. That’s a real powerful message.”
Kyle Garcia is the sports editor for The Beacon. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.