Record 25 ACC players selected in MLS SuperDraft, including 12 first rounders
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Highlighted by a dozen first-round selections, 25 ACC men’s soccer players were selected Thursday in the 2021 Major League Soccer SuperDraft.
The 25 selections are by far the most ACC picks in the SuperDraft, besting the previous record of 18, set twice previously. In all, players from 11 ACC programs represented exactly one-third of the 75 total draft picks Thursday.
The ACC’s total of 12 first-round selections stands as the most ever from one conference in the MLS SuperDraft, topping the ACC’s previous record of eight, set in 2016, 2018 and 2020. The ACC’s total this year was quadruple that of any other conference.
For the first time in SuperDraft history, players from ACC schools were chosen with each of the first five picks. Virginia Tech midfielder Daniel Pereira was chosen No. 1 overall by the expansion Austin FC. It marks the second straight year that an ACC program had a player selected No. 1 overall, after Clemson’s Robbie Robinson was picked No. 1 by Inter Miami last season. It also marked the eighth No. 1 pick for a current ACC school.
Pereira was immediately followed in the draft by Wake Forest’s Calvin Harris (second, FC Cincinnati), Clemson’s Philip Mayaka (third, Colorado), Clemson’s Kimarni Smith (fourth, D.C. United) and Wake Forest’s Michael DeShields (fifth, D.C. United).
Seven other players with ACC ties went in the first round: Virginia’s Bret Halsey (seventh, Real Salt Lake), Syracuse’s Luther Archimede (13th, New York Red Bulls), Wake Forest’s Justin McMaster (17th, Minnesota), Virginia’s Irakoze Donasiyano (20th, Nashville), Duke’s Aedan Stanley (21st, Austin FC), former Pitt forward Edward Kizza (24th, New England) and Clemson’s Justin Malou (27th, Columbus).
Nine ACC players were chosen in the second round, while four more were picked in the third round.
Pereira, Harris, Mayaka and Halsey each signed Generation adidas contracts ahead of the SuperDraft. Generation adidas players and others who sign contracts will join their MLS clubs for the 2021 preseason. Draftees who do not sign contracts may compete for their college team during the Spring 2021 semester before reporting to their MLS clubs in late May.
ACC in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft
Round 1 (12)
1. Austin FC – Daniel Pereira, M, Virginia Tech
2. FC Cincinnati – Calvin Harris, F, Wake Forest
3. Colorado – Philip Mayaka, M, Clemson
4. D.C. United – Kimarni Smith, F, Clemson
5. D.C. United – Michael DeShields, D, Wake Forest
7. Real Salt Lake – Bret Halsey, D, Virginia
13. New York Red Bulls – Luther Archimede, D, Syracuse
17. Minnesota United FC – Justin McMaster, F, Wake Forest
20. Nashville SC – Irakoze Donasiyano, F, Virginia
21. Austin FC – Aedan Stanley, D, Duke
24. New England – Edward Kizza, F, formerly of Pitt
27. Columbus – Justin Malou, D, Clemson
Round 2 (9)
28. Austin FC – Daniel Steedman, F, Virginia
30. Houston – Kristo Strickler, F, Virginia Tech
34. Real Salt Lake – Elijah Amo, F, Louisville
39. San Jose – George Asomani, M, NC State
40. New York Red Bulls – Lamine Conte, M, Louisville
45. Toronto FC – Nathaniel Crofts, F, Virginia
48. FC Dallas – Colin Shutler, GK, Virginia
49. Orlando City – Andrew Pannenberg, GK, Wake Forest
50. Sporting KC – Matt Constant, D, North Carolina
Round 3 (4)
59. Atlanta – Aiden McFadden, M, Notre Dame
73. Nashville SC – Sondre Norheim, D, Syracuse
76. FC Dallas – Mark Salas, D, North Carolina
79. FC Dallas – Giovanni Montesdeoca, F, North Carolina