Five men’s soccer players head to the professional level

Following a tremendous season, several Cavaliers will leave early to play professionally


Dike’s top-five selection is the highest of any Virginia player since Tony Tchani was taken second in 2010. 

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

Three players from the Virginia men’s soccer team were selected in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft Thursday. Two others chose to forgo their remaining eligibility to pursue a professional career elsewhere.

Sophomore forward Daryl Dike was selected as the fifth overall pick by Orlando SC, while junior defender Henry Kessler followed as the sixth overall pick by the New England Revolution.

Known for his unique physical style of play, Dike led the Cavaliers with 10 goals and 8 assists during their run to the National Championship game. Dike’s top-five selection is the highest of any Virginia player since Tony Tchani was taken second in 2010.

Kessler, on the other hand, was a key component to arguably the nation’s most dominant defense. Notably, Kessler was named First-Team All-American by the United Soccer Coaches. 

The final Cavalier to be selected in the SuperDraft was senior defender Robin Afamefuna — taken 37th overall by the Colorado Rapids. Afamefuna was another essential cog in the Virginia defense and also served as one of the team’s captains.

This marks the first time in program history that three Virginia players were selected in the first two rounds of the SuperDraft.

Junior midfielder Joe Bell opted to take his talents overseas by signing with Viking FK in Norway. Bell was one of three finalists for the 2019 MAC Hermann trophy — an award given to the best player in college soccer — and he was named the ACC midfielder of the year.

Finally, sophomore forward Daniel Steedman signed with Atlanta United 2 in the United Soccer League. Steedman finished with seven assists this season — second on the team — and proved especially valuable during the postseason as he was named to the NCAA College Cup All-Tournament team. 

Despite losing several important players, Virginia returns a talented squad and will look to make another deep postseason run next season.

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