St. Charles graduate Kristo Strickler picked by Houston Dynamo FC in MLS SuperDraft

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Kristo Strickler, a Hilliard resident and 2017 St. Charles graduate, was selected by Houston Dynamo FC on Jan. 21 with the 30th overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft. Before reporting to Houston, he is slated to play at Virginia Tech in his senior season, which was extended from last fall to this spring because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Kristo Strickler is preparing to pursue a dream.

The 2017 St. Charles graduate and Hilliard resident was the 30th overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft, selected Jan. 21 by Houston Dynamo FC.

First, however, Strickler plans to complete his career at Virginia Tech after his senior season was extended from last fall to this spring because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re still hammering out some of the details, but I will be reporting (to Houston) in May,” Strickler said. “I’m staying at Virginia Tech until the remainder of the spring season. I’ll be here playing in the most competitive league in the country, (the ACC), and I’ll be super-fit when I report in May.”

In his career with the Hokies, Strickler has 27 goals and nine assists in 67 games.

As a junior, he led his team in goals (11) and points (25) and added three assists. He was second-team all-ACC for the second time as the Hokies finished 10-6-3 and qualified for their fifth consecutive NCAA tournament.

Strickler was drafted by Houston with the third pick of the second round.

“I was there with all of my (college) teammates and we were looking at a stat-tracker on our phones and refreshing,” he said. “Then one of my teammates said, ‘Kristo, you’re going to Houston!’ Everyone started chanting ‘Hou-ston! Hou-ston! Hou-ston!’ It was great.

“It’s always been a dream, and my parents (Chuck and Jojo Strickler) were there to share it. It’s great to see that hard work can really pay off like that.”

As a senior at St. Charles, Strickler was named first-team all-state and the Division I Central District Player of the Year. He also was captain of ThisWeek’s Super 12 boys team as the Cardinals finished 21-1-1, losing to Cleveland St. Ignatius 2-1 in the state championship game.

“I would be lying if I said that I was surprised he was drafted,” St. Charles coach Chris Vonau said. “Kristo embodies the prototypical perfect player, on and off the field. His technical and tactical knowledge of the game is unreal. His leadership and passion for the game are second to none. I am lucky to be able to say that I coached such a talent.”

The Hokies have high expectations for the spring season with Strickler and the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, Daniel Pereira, in the midfield. Pereira was drafted by Austin FC.

“I think (Houston) sees me as a goal-scorer, but who knows,” Strickler said. “I played right-back as a freshman and then forward. As a senior, my role is more in the midfield. (The Dynamo) like that I can play anywhere on the field and have that versatility.”

Strickler is excited to begin the next chapter in his career.

“I’ve always known that I could play at the next level, and now I have that opportunity,” he said. “It will be a new environment and a new team, but I have already gotten support from Houston through social media. I’m glad to see the fans are getting ready.

“I’m excited to see how I adapt to this next phase of my life and being a professional soccer player. I’m excited to make Houston a new home. I just want to give it my all right now.”

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen