Virginia had five players taken in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, the most of any NCAA school and the most in program history. The Cavaliers’ men’s soccer program has had 30 players selected in the MLS SuperDraft since it began in 2000. Virginia leads the NCAA over the past two seasons in players drafted, with eight total Cavaliers being taken in the first two rounds of the MLS SuperDraft.
Junior midfielder Bret Halsey was the first Cavalier chosen in the draft and was taken off the board by Real Salt Lake with the seventh overall pick. On Tuesday, Halsey announced his signing of a Generation Adidas contract, which made him eligible for the draft as an underclassman. The Sterling, Va. native played a critical role in Virginia’s 2019 ACC Championship and was selected twice to the ACC All-Tournament team over his career. During his three seasons as a Cavalier, Halsey started 31 matches and finished with one goal and two assists.
Senior forward Irakoze Donasiyano was also selected in the first round as the 20th overall pick by Nashville SC. Hailing from Roanoke, Va., Donasiyano finished his career with 49 straight starts for Virginia and tallied a total of five goals and eight assists over his four years as a Cavalier. He was a Third Team All-ACC selection in 2019 and played every minute of the 2020 fall season.
Former Virginia forward Daniel Steedman was the third Cavalier off the board after being selected 28th overall by Austin FC. Steedman played for the Cavaliers for the 2018 and 2019 seasons before signing a professional contract in January of 2020 with Atlanta United 2. During his second season with Virginia in 2019, Steedman totaled three goals and seven assists, including one goal and five assists in the postseason to earn him a spot on the NCAA College Cup All-Tournament Team. Steedman joins first overall pick Virginia Tech midfielder Daniel Pereira for the debut season of Austin FC.
With the 45th overall pick in the draft, senior forward Nathaniel Crofts was selected by Toronto FC. Over his four-year career, Crofts scored 11 goals and totaled 11 assists. Crofts was instrumental in the team’s success during the 2019 season, scoring five game-winning goals — tied for the second-most in the ACC. Crofts was named to the ACC All-Tournament Team in 2019 as the Cavaliers won their 11th ACC Tournament title. He was also named a team captain for the 2020 season.
The final Virginia player taken in the draft was graduate student goalkeeper Colin Shutler, who was selected 48th overall by FC Dallas. In 2019, Shutler led the country with the lowest goals against average of 0.53 and earned First Team All-American and First Team All-ACC honors. Shutler leaves the program with the third-most shutouts in Virginia history with 24 and the fourth-lowest career goals against average of 0.68.