Daniel Pereira is making history…
Austin FC selected the Virginia Tech midfielder as the No. 1 pick in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, making him the first-ever No. 1 pick from Venezuela.
Pereira was born and raised in the Venezulan capital of Caracas. But with his family facing political persecution and the entire country facing food shortages, human rights violations and an economic crisis, they decided to move to the U.S. in search of a better life.
Pereira was a teenager at the time and didn’t know a single word of English.
“We hit the reset button and started over completely. I didn’t really like the idea much at the start because I was leaving my friends behind and the team that I was playing for in Venezuela,” he said.
Pereira is projected as a box-to-box midfielder who should provide some depth in midfield alongside Alex Ring. Pereira also signed a Generation Adidas contract with MLS, meaning his salary won’t count against Austin’s salary cap.
The pick was something of a surprise given that most mock drafts had Clemson midfielder Philip Mayaka going No. 1, but Pereira was the choice for Austin.
“I wasn’t really expecting to be No. 1 because of all the mock drafts,” Pereira said afterward. “It’s an honor. I’m really happy. My family is crying. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.”
Pereira added that, in his conversations with the Austin staff before draft day, he told them he hopes to play in his preferred central midfield role.
“I expect to play my position,” he said. “I’m a No. 8. I like to defend, and I like to attack. Hopefully that’s where they see me.”
TOP 10 DRAFT PICKS (view full results here):
- Austin FC, Daniel Pereira, MF, Virginia Tech
- FC Cincinnati, Calvin Harris, FW, Wake Forest
- Colorado Rapids, Philip Mayaka, MF, Clemson
- D.C. United, Kimarni Smith, FW, Clemson
- D.C. United, Michael DeShields, DF, Wake Forest
- Houston Dynamo FC, Ethan Bartlow, DF, Washington
- Real Salt Lake, Bret Halsey, DF, Virginia
- Orlando City SC, Derek Dodson, FW, Georgetown
- Vancouver Whitecaps, David Egbo, FW, Akron
- Inter Miami CF, Josh Penn, FW, Indy Eleven/Indiana