CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – For first time in program history, three Cavaliers were selected in the first two rounds of the MLS SuperDraft. Striker Daryl Dike (Edmond, Okla.), defender Henry Kessler (New York, N.Y.) and senior Robin Afamefuna (Wuerselen, Germany) were among the 52 collegiate players selected on day one.
Dike and Kessler were selected back-to-back as the fifth and sixth overall picks, respectively. Dike will join Orlando SC and while Kessler will join former Virginia coach Bruce Arena and the New England Revolution. Afamefuna was taken with the 37th overall pick by the Colorado Rapids.
The storied Cavalier program has now had 25 players selected, including nine first rounders, since the inception of the draft and all have come under head coach George Gelnovatch. A total of seven Virginia men’s soccer players have been taken in the last three drafts.
Dike, who signed a Generation adidas contract on Wednesday (Jan. 8), is the highest Cavalier to be drafted since Tony Tchani was taken second overall in 2010. Dike led the Cavaliers in goals (10), assists (8) and points (28) in 2019 and was a Third Team All-American by the United Soccer Coaches. He was also recognized as the NCAA College Cup’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player.
Kessler, also a Generation adidas signee, was a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Award and named a First Team All-American by the United Soccer Coaches. Kessler and Afamefuna, a fourth-year co-captain, were stalwarts on one of the nation’s top defenses. Virginia led the country with 15 clean sheets and sported a 0.53 goals against average, second lowest in the nation.
Afamefuna appeared in 77 games over the span of his four-year Cavalier career. He was a three-time member of the ACC Academic honor roll and was listed on the 2018 ACC All-Academic Team. He garnered Second Team All-Region accolades and was a Second Team All-ACC selection as a senior.