Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics
It was a historic day for Virginia Tech as midfielder Daniel Pereira was selected #1 overall by new MLS franchise Austin FC in what was a historic day for the men's soccer program, and a memorable day for Pereira.
“It’s an honor, I wasn’t really expecting it,” Pereira said. “Obviously there’s a lot of talented players in the draft and it’s just an honor and a moment I’ll never forget.”
The Roanoke, VA native became the highest selected Virginia Tech men’s soccer player in MLS Draft history, surpassing Patrick Nyarko who was selected seventh in the 2008 MLS Draft by the Chicago Fire. Periera also becomes the first non-football student athlete to be selected with the first overall pick in a professional sports league, and joins Michael Vick and Bruce Smith as #1 overall picks.
Before the 2021 MLS Draft, Pereira signed a Generation Adidas deal back in December; this joint program allows Adidas to sign college underclassmen to make them eligible for the upcoming SuperDraft. This means that Pereira’s deal is with the MLS rather than Austin FC, resulting in Austin FC not having to pay for his contract until he graduates from his deal.
In his two seasons at Virginia Tech, Periera started every game that he appeared in with the Hokies. He had a breakthrough freshman year with allocating five goals and five assists for the Hokies in 19 games. His performances were strong enough for him to land on the All-ACC Freshman Team.
His sophomore season was a little bit quieter on the stat sheet while recording one goal and one assist, but the Hokies had a shortened fall season due to the COVID-19 pandemic which limited opportunities.
Periera became the first selection in Austin FC history, as the MLS expansion team will make its debut in 2021 as the league's 27th franchise.
Pereira wasn't the only Hokie selected either.
Kristo Strickler is heading to Houston Dynamo FC after being selected with the 30th overall pick in the 2021 MLS Draft.
The Hillard, OH native was a four year starter during his time at Virginia Tech, making him one of the more reliable players during the current Mike Brizendine era in Blacksburg.
The two-time All-ACC Second Team member scored 27 goals in his Virginia Tech career, which placed him ninth on the all-time Virginia Tech goal scoring list. He also recorded nine assists during his career with the Hokies.
Between him and Daniel Pereira, it’s the first time that multiple Hokies have been selected in a single MLS Draft since the 2008 edition of the Draft.