Two Virginia Cavalier soccer players were selected in the first round of the MLS Draft on Thursday afternoon as Darryl Dike and Henry Kessler heard their names called. Kessler and Dike were instrumental in leading Virginia to an ACC Championship and an appearance in the title game.
Dike, a 6’2, 220 pound forward, was picked No. 5 overall and will join the Orlando City Soccer Club.
Darryl Dike led the Cavaliers in goals (10), assists (8), and points (28), and was instrumental in helping Virginia reach its first College Cup final since 2014. Dike scored both of Virginia’s goals in the NCAA semifinals against Wake Forest, and his strike evened the score against Georgetown in the title game with under five minutes remaining. Virginia would go on to lose in penalty kicks, but the 2019 season was a success thanks in part to Dike’s impact on the game.
Virginia fans didn’t have to wait long for Kessler to come off the board as the junior defender was taken at No. 6 by the New England Revolution.
The 6’4 defender from New York anchored a Virginia defense that gave up just 13 goals all season. The Cavaliers tied for first in goals against average (0.53 goals against per game) and were first in shutouts (15) in large part due to Kessler’s solid presence in the back. Kessler was also a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Award (alongside teammate Joe Bell), which goes to the nation’s best player. Like Dike, Kessler was named First Team All-ACC this season.
Midfielder Joe Bell is expected to sign a professional contract with a Norwegian professional team, Viking FK, in the near future.