Former Panther Edward Kizza makes history with MLS SuperDraft first round selection

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Joy Cao | Senior Staff Photographer

The New England Revolution selected former Pitt forward Edward Kizza with the 24th pick in the MLS SuperDraft on Thursday, tied for the highest draft pick in Pitt soccer history.

By Alex Lehmbeck, Sports Editor

The New England Revolution selected former Pitt forward Edward Kizza with the 24th pick in Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft, tied for the highest draft pick in Pitt soccer history. Prior to Thursday’s event, no Pitt soccer player had ever been drafted in the opening round of the SuperDraft in its 24-year history.

Spanish defender Pol Calvet Planellas became the first soccer player in Pitt history to be drafted by an MLS team in 2018, as the opening pick of the second round by the newly created Los Angeles Football Club. 

LAFC took another Panther the following year, selecting midfielder Javi Perez with the 16th pick of the third round in 2019. No Pitt players were selected in the 2020 SuperDraft.

A native of Kampala, Uganda, Kizza spearheaded Pitt soccer’s rebuild through the first three years of his college career. A promising first season gave him a spot on the All-ACC Freshman team, and he reached a new gear during his sophomore season, totaling 15 goals on his way to All-ACC First Team honors.

After nabbing an All-ACC First Team spot his junior year as well, followed by a strong 2020 preseason, Kizza looked primed to lead the highly anticipated Panther squad in his senior year. But the season began without the star forward on the field, and Pitt subtly announced that Kizza had departed the team.

Kizza left Pitt just six goals shy of the school’s career record. Pitt refused to comment further or clarify why Kizza had left, but head coach Jay Vidovich told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he had no hard feelings with the star striker.

“He’s in good standing here,” Vidovich said. “He didn’t desert the program or anything. He’s just dealing with other responsibilities.”

Four Panthers made the pool of 176 eligible players up for selection on Thursday — Kizza, senior forward Alexander Dexter, graduate student defender Jasper Loeffelsend and graduate goalkeeper Nico Campuzano. Dexter, Loeffelsend and Campuzano went undrafted in all three rounds.

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