The 2021 SuperDraft MLS presented by adidas is underway, and the Austin FC expansion side began proceedings on Thursday by selecting Generation adidas and Virginia Tech midfielder Daniel Pereira with the No.1 overall pick.
The move turned some heads, with Clemson midfielder Philip Mayaka being considered by many to be SuperDraft’s best eligible player. But Pereira is an intriguing and very interesting prospect in his own right, establishing himself as a skilled midfielder with dynamic traits in attack during his career at Hokies.
During his two seasons at Virginia Tech, Pereira had six goals and six assists in 26 games. He helped Virginia Tech finish the fall 2020 college football season at No. 4 in the United Soccer Coaches poll, posting a 3-1-2 record.
FC Cincinnati followed Austin by selecting Wake Forest forward Calvin Harris at No.2, Mayaka then being taken at No.3 by the Colorado Rapids. Another Clemson product placed No.4 when DC United took the lead over Kimarni Smith.
DC rounded out the top five, acquiring the next pick in a trade with Atlanta United, using it to select Wake Forest defenseman Michael DeShields.
Austin continues to build
Austin FC have spent the offseason bringing together proven MLS players and promising internationals, and have now injected young people into the club with Thursday’s caps. Sporting director Claudio Reyna and his team also had the 11th overall pick thanks to a trade with CF Montreal, which they used against University of Washington defenseman Freddy Kleeman. They rounded it off with the No.21 overall pick, which they acquired from the Rapids by taking on left-back Duke Aedan Stanley.
Time will tell how well the first-round players play this season, but it’s a historic day for Austin as their long-awaited expansion season draws closer. Naturally, there is also a hype behind Pereira going No.1.
Rapids are a sensation
Colorado was not initially in the top five picks, but moved up to No.3 in a pre-draft trade with Houston Dynamo FC and selected Mayaka. The Clemson product was a 2019 MAC Hermann Trophy semi-finalist, a second-team All-American and his college coach Mike Noonan called him “the most MLS-ready player I have coached since being in. Clemson “.
The Rapids are hoping that will be true and Mayaka is indeed set to compete for the first team minutes right away. It projects as # 6, but can position itself in several different positions.
For the latest picks, check out the MLSsoccer.com Draft Tracker.