Daryl Dike and Henry Kessler were both key players in the Virginia men’s soccer team’s run to the ACC championship and the College Cup this past season.
Now they are both top 10 draft picks.
Dike and Kessler were selected with back-to-back picks at the top end of the MLS SuperDraft on Thursday. Dike was taken with the No. 5 overall pick by Orlando City SC. The New England Revolution chose Kessler with the very next pick.
Both Dike and Kessler had college eligibility remaining but opted to turn professional and sign Generation Adidas contracts. Generation Adidas is a joint program between MLS and Adidas that allows a small group of the top underclassmen in men’s college soccer and the top youth national team players to be signed to contracts and made available in the MLS SuperDraft. Dike and Kessler were two of the five collegiate soccer players to earn Generation Adidas contracts.
Dike, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound forward, had a stellar sophomore season for the Cavaliers, leading the team in points (28), goals (10) and assists (8). He became the first Virginia men’s soccer player to have a 10-goal season since 2012.
Dike also was named the Most Outstanding Offensive Player in the College Cup after scoring three goals in two matches. Dike finished his Cavalier career with 15 goals in 36 games played. He joins an Orlando City team that finished 11th in the 12-team Eastern Conference last season and missed the playoffs.
Kessler (6-4, 185) played every minute of the 2019 season for Virginia at center back and helped the Cavaliers produce an NCAA-best 15 clean sheets. The junior from New York was a United Soccer Coaches first team All-American and was the MVP of the 2019 ACC Tournament.
Kessler joins a Revolution team that is led by former Virginia coach Bruce Arena, who guided the Cavaliers to five national championships during his time in Charlottesville. New England reached the MLS Cup playoffs last season, losing to Atlanta United in the first round.
A second member of Virginia’s back line went off the board in the second round of the SuperDraft, when the Colorado Rapids selected Cavalier defender Robin Afamefuna with the 37th overall pick. In his final season with UVa, Afamefuna started all 24 games and helped the Wahoos notch a 0.53 goals against average, the second-lowest in the country. Afamefuna hopes to be a contributor for a Rapids team that finished ninth in the 12-team Western Conference last season and missed the playoffs.
Clemson forward Robbie Robinson was taken with the No. 1 overall pick by expansion club Inter Miami CF. Eight players from ACC teams were taken in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft, including five in the top 10. Six more ACC players were taken in the second round.
The third and fourth rounds of the MLS SuperDraft will be on Monday.