Two Hokies Drafted in MLS SuperDraft: Daniel Pereira Goes 1st Overall
The Hokies men’s soccer team made history on Thursday, recording a pair of firsts in the 2021 Major League Soccer SuperDraft. Sophomore Daniel Periera distinguished himself as the first player in Virginia Tech soccer history to be selected as the number one overall pick in the draft after being chosen by Austin FC. Periera joins Michael Vick and Bruce Smith as the only other Virginia Tech student-athletes to be selected as number one overall picks in any sport. Senior Kristo Strickler was also selected as the 30th overall pick by the Houston Dynamo FC, marking the first time that the Hokies men’s soccer program has had two players taken in the first two rounds.
Born in Venezuela, Periera and his family emigrated to the United States to seek asylum when he was in ninth grade. He quickly found success on the soccer field at Northside High School in Roanoke County, becoming the VHSL Class 3 Boys Soccer Player of the Year in 2019. Periera decided to stay close to home after high school and took his talents to Virginia Tech in the fall of 2019. In just 26 games across two seasons, Pereira recorded 18 points with six goals and six assists. The midfielder was the second-leading points scorer his freshman year and made the ACC All-Freshman team.
Despite his impressive stats, Periera was surprised to learn he had been selected first overall.
“It’s an honor. I wasn’t really expecting it,” said Periera. “Obviously, there are a lot of talented players in the draft and it’s just an honor and a moment I’ll never forget.”
The MLS SuperDraft is an annual event that affords Major League Soccer teams the opportunity to draft players who have already graduated from college or underclassmen who have signed with a league. Periera, a sophomore, became eligible for the draft when he signed a deal to become part of the 2021 Generation Adidas class. His selection was met with enthusiasm from both his coaches and teammates.
“He's an outstanding young man and a very talented player,” said head coach Mike Brizendine. “I know I speak for everyone in the program - coaching staff, players, and support staff - in saying that we're excited for him and very much look forward to watching him grow and succeed at the next level.”
Strickler, a walk-on turned four-year starter and captain, was similarly excited by his selection. The Ohio native was chosen in the second round by Houston Dynamo FC.
“To be selected from a talented list of players is such an honor,” said Strickler. “I owe so much to Tech and am excited for what the next stage holds. Thanks, Houston, for this opportunity, and I will keep riding the orange wave!”
Strickler currently ranks ninth in program history for goals scored and was the leading points scorer for his last three seasons at Virginia Tech with 27 goals and nine assists. He has started 64 of 67 games and was awarded First Team VaSid in 2018 and Second Team All-ACC as a midfielder in 2018 and 2019.
Periera and Strickler are the only pair of Hokies to be selected in the top two rounds of the MLS SuperDraft. They are also one of only two pairs of Hokies to be selected in the same MLS SuperDraft (2008).