Virginia had five players in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, the most by any NCAA schools and the most in program history. The Cavaliers football program for men has selected 30 players in the MLS SuperDraft since the beginning of 2000. Virginia has led the NCAA in the last two seasons of drafted players, with a total of eight Cavaliers picked up in the first two rounds of the MLS SuperDraft.
Junior midfielder Bret Halsey was the first Cavalier to be drafted and was taken off the board by Real Salt Lake with the seventh overall win. On Tuesday, Halsey announced he was signing a deal with Generation Adidas questioning him as an underclassman for the draft. A native of Sterling, Virginia, played a pivotal role in the 2019 ACC Championship in Virginia and was elected to the ACC All-Tournament Team twice during his career. During his three seasons as a Cavalier, Halsey started 31 games and ended with one goal and two assists.
Senior striker Irakoze Donasiyano was selected as the 20th overall winner in the first round by Nashville SC. Originally from Roanoke, Virginia, Donasiyano ended his career 49 straight starts for Virginia and scored a total of five goals and eight assists in his four years as a cavalier. He was a third Team All-ACC selection in 2019, playing every minute of the 2020 fall season.
Former Virginia striker Daniel Steedman became the third Cavalier off the board after being voted 28th overall by Austin FC. Steedman played for the Cavaliers in the 2018 and 2019 seasons before signing a professional deal with Atlanta United 2 in January 2020. During his second season with Virginia in 2019, Steedman scored a total of three goals and seven assists, including one goal and five postseason assists, to secure a spot on the NCAA College Cup All-Tournament Team. Steedman joins Virginia Tech’s first midfielder Daniel Pereira for Austin FC’s debut season.
With the 45th overall win in the draft, the senior striker Nathaniel Crofts was selected by Toronto FC. In his four-year career, Crofts scored 11 goals and a total of 11 assists. Crofts was instrumental in the team’s success in the 2019 season, scoring five winning goals – the second most common in the ACC. Crofts was named to the ACC All-Tournament Team in 2019 when the Cavaliers won their 11th ACC tournament title. He was also named team captain for the 2020 season.
The last Virginia player to be included in the draft was goalkeeper Colin Shutler, who was ranked 48th overall by Dallas FC. In 2019, Shutler led the country with the lowest goals against an average of 0.53, earning “First Team All-American” and “First Team All-ACC” awards. Shutler exits the program with the third highest shutouts in Virginia history with 24 and the fourth lowest career goals against an average of 0.68.