Following a run to the national championship game and the ensuing departure of several key pieces, Virginia men’s soccer is set to reload with a strong incoming class of both freshmen and transfers.
Along with a handful of former seniors including captain defender Robin Afamefuna, sophomore starter Daryl Dike, junior defender Henry Kessler, junior midfielder Joe Bell, and sophomore forward Daniel Steedman all left the program to pursue professional careers. The Cavaliers will seek to compensate for that loss by introducing eight freshmen and five transfers to the program.
Freshman forward Leo Afonso comes from Florida, playing for Boca United and tallying 25 goals during the 2017 season, third most in the nation. Afonso also played on the youth teams of MLS squads Philadelphia Union and Inter Miami.
From New Jersey, freshman midfielder Jules Anderson also played with the Philadelphia Union and is listed as the No. 61 player on TopDrawerSoccer’s Top 150 Club Soccer Player rankings.
Freshman midfielder Julian Aguilar — younger brother of former Virginia national champion Pablo Aguilar — captained his club soccer team for multiple years in Guatemala City, leading his team in assists.
Graduate transfer defender Louis Evans most recently played four seasons for Davidson College, appearing in 28 games. Evans is from Canterbury, New Zealand and attended Scot’s College — a school former midfielder and 2019 All-American Joe Bell also attended.
Junior transfer defender Oliver Gerbig was a two-year starter for Coastal Carolina and is a member of the Hong Kong U-20 national team. The Taiwan native will hope to anchor a Virginia back-line that lost ACC Tournament MVP Henry Kessler to the MLS Draft.
Other freshmen incomers include goalkeeper Holden Brown, midfielder and defender Rafael Caipo, forward and midfielder Kaya Ignacio, midfielder and defender Chris Scheipe and forward William Shuchart. The additional transfers also include freshman goalkeeper Alex Rando, sophomore forward and midfielder Kevin Ogudugu and graduate student midfielder Joan Gibert.
Despite losing several pro-caliber players, Virginia will look to mesh its returning leadership and talent with a strong influx of new players in hopes of making another deep tournament run.