MLS SuperDraft: ACC sets record with first five picks and 12 first-round picks

Players from ACC teams dominated the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, which should come as no surprise since the ACC was the only major men's conference to play in the fall.

ACC players went with the top five picks, beginning with Virginia Tech's Daniel Pereira, taken by Austin FC at No. 1.

Wake Forest’s Calvin Harris (FC Cincinnati) and Michael DeShields (photo, D.C. United) went at No. 2 and No. 5 and Clemson's Philip Mayaka (Colorado) and Kimarni Smith (D.C. United) were the No. 3 and No. 4 picks.

The ACC had 12 first-round selections -- the most ever by one conference -- and 25 picks overall -- one-third of the 75 total draft picks.

Foreign influence. The first four selections in the 2021 SuperDraft were all born outside the USA: Pereira (Venezuela), Harris and Smith (both born in England) and Mayaka (Kenyan native).

Players from 15 different countries besides the United States and Canada were picked during the draft, including six African countries with selections in the first round.

Guadeloupe international Luther Archimede, taken by the New York Red Bulls with the No. 13 pick, played for French second division Sochaux before he enrolled at Syracuse University.

USL picks. What was new about the 2021 SuperDraft was that besides players who are college seniors or Generation adidas underclassmen, teams picked players who played college soccer in 2019 as seniors or underclassmen and turned pro with teams in the USL Championship or USL League One since then.

Five such players were picked in the first round, beginning with DeShields, who sat out Wake's fall season and signed with New England Revolution II, the Revs' second team in USL League One, in November. FC Dallas selected former SMU midfielder Nicky Hernandez from North Texas SC, its second team in USL League One.

ROUND 1
1. Austin FC. MF Daniel Pereira (GA) Roanoke, Va. Virginia Tech Univ.
2. FC Cincinnati. FW Calvin Harris (GA) Hong Kong Wake Forest Univ.
3. Colorado. MF Philip Mayaka (GA) Kenya Clemson Univ.
4. D.C. United. FW Kimarni Smith England Clemson Univ.
5. D.C. United. DF Michael DeShields NE Revolution II/Wake Forest Univ.
6. Houston. DF Ethan Bartlow (GA) Woodinville, Wash. Univ. of Washington
7. Real Salt Lake. MF Bret Halsey (GA) Sterling, Va. Univ. of Virginia
8. Orlando City. FW Derek Dodson Aurora, Ill. Georgetown Univ.
9. Vancouver. FW David Egbo Nigeria Univ. of Akron
10. Inter Miami. FW Josh Penn Naperville, Ill. Indy Eleven/Indiana Univ.
11. Austin FC. DF Freddy Kleemann Newbury Park, Calif. Univ. of Washington
12. San Jose. FW Thomas Williamson Villa Park, Calif. Univ. of California
13. NY Red Bulls. FW Luther Archimede  Guadeloupe Syracuse Univ.
14. LAFC. FW Daniel Trejo Mendota, Calif. CSUN
15. FC Dallas. MF Nicky Hernandez Dallas, Texas North Texas SC/SMU
16. LAFC. FW Josh Drack Chandler, Ariz. Univ. of Denver
17. Minnesota United. FW Justin McMaster Jamaica Wake Forest Univ.
18. Minnesota United. DF Nabilai Kibunguchy Elk Grove, Calif. UC Davis
19. Orlando City. DF Rio Hope-Gund New York, N.Y. Georgetown Univ.
20. Nashville SC. FW Irakoze Donasiyano Roanoke, Va. Univ. of Virginia
21. Austin FC. DF Aedan Stanley Columbia, Ill. Sporting KC II/Duke Univ.
22. Orlando City. DF Brandon Hackenberg Palmyra, Va. Penn State Univ.
23. Vancouver. DF Javain Brown Jamaica Atlanta United 2/Univ. of South Florida
24. New England. FW Edward Kizza Uganda Univ. of Pittsburgh
25. Toronto FC. MF Matt Di Rosa Washington, D.C. Univ. of Maryland
26. Inter Miami. DF Aime Mabika Lexington, Ky. Univ. of Kentucky
27. Columbus. DF Justin Malou Senegal Clemson Univ.
GA=Generation adidas signee.

MLS Super Draft: Complete picks.

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