CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The seven-time national champion Virginia men’s soccer program saw five of its student-athletes selected in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, a program record and the most selections of any NCAA school. Junior Bret Halsey (Sterling, Va.) was the first Cavalier off the board after being taken seventh overall by Real Salt Lake.
Halsey was joined in the first round by Irakoze Donasiyano (Roanoke, Va.) who was the 20th overall selection of Nashville SC. Former Cavalier Daniel Steedman (Glasgow, Scotland) was the first pick of the second round (28th overall) by Austin FC while Nathaniel Crofts (Sheffield, England) and Colin Shutler (Middleburg, Va.) were taken by Toronto FC (45th overall) and FC Dallas (48th overall), respectively.
Over the last two seasons, a total of eight Cavaliers have been taken in the first two rounds of the MLS SuperDraft, also the most among any NCAA men’s soccer program. Last year’s draft featured back-to-back top-10 picks, Daryl Dike (5th overall) and Henry Kessler (6th overall). Since the first MLS SuperDraft in 2000, a total of 30 Cavaliers have been selected.
Earlier this week Halsey became the fourth Cavalier in the last four years to sign a Generation Adidas contract, making him eligible for the SuperDraft as an underclassman. The midfielder is a two-time ACC All-Tournament team selection and a regular on Virginia’s 2019 ACC Championship and NCAA Runner-Up squad. Halsey started all 31 matches he appeared in over the course of three seasons at UVA and tallied a goal and two assists.
Donasiyano started the last 49-straight games in a Cavalier uniform and played every minute of all eight games this past Fall. He put together a career year as a junior in 2019 scoring four goals and assisted on six others en route to Third Team All-ACC accolades.
After a breakout sophomore season in 2019, Steedman signed a domestic professional contract with Atlanta United 2 (USL), making him still eligible for the 2021 MLS SuperDraft. As a member of the Cavaliers NCAA College Cup team in 2019, the midfielder was fifth on the steam with 13 points (3g, 7a). Six of his seven assists came on game-winning goals, the sixth-most in a single season by a UVA soccer player. In the postseason (ACC and NCAA Tournaments) he was credited with a goal and five assists, landing him on the NCAA College Cup All-Tournament Team.
In 64 games played, Crofts scored 11 goals and recorded 11 assists over four years with the Cavaliers. The shifty striker totaled 33 points (11g, 11a) in 64 games in a Cavalier uniform. In 2019 he was third on the team in points (6g, 3a) and his five game-winning goals were tied for the second-most in the ACC and 16th most in the nation. He was listed on the ACC All-Tournament team after Virginia won its 11th ACC Tournament title in 2019.
In 2019, Shutler became the first Cavalier goalkeeper since Tony Meola to take home first team all-aCC honors and eventually consensus First Team All-America honors. He appeared 45 games in goal for Virginia in 2019 and boasted the country’s lowest goals against average (0.53) along with the NCAA fourth-highest save percentage (.827). He ranks third in Virginia history in shutouts (24) and has the fourth lowest career goals against average (0.68) of any Virginia goalkeeper.