Nashville SC announced on Wednesday that it has signed midfielder Irakoze Donasiyano to an MLS contract. Donasiyano, 23, was selected 20th overall in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, Nashville’s first pick of the draft. He has been signed to a contract through the end of the 2021 season, with single year options through the 2024 season.
“Koze has a lot of positive attributes that really mesh well with our team,” said Nashville SC General Manager Mike Jacobs. “His athleticism and work-rate help him cover a lot of ground on both sides of the ball, and he has a tremendous attitude and energy that make him a real competitor. His versatility enables him to play multiple roles in the group as well.”
Donasiyao played four seasons for the University of Virginia, appearing in 65 matches, 56 of which were starts. Donasiyano was a Third Team All-ACC selection in 2019, and was one of four players to play in every match the last two seasons for Virginia.
Donasiyano is incredibly versatile. While he’s listed as a midfielder, he spent most of the 2020 and 2021 seasons as a fullback, either on the right or the left side. He’s also spent time at forward.
While general manager Mike Jacobs has spoken about his ability to play as a fullback, he noted after the draft that “Koze” could play a role in midfield.
“The hope for us was by us trading Derrick [Jones], we’d be able to land Koze and have him play a role in our midfield,” he told reporters after the draft, adding that Irakoze’s ability to play right-back was also huge, given Alistair Johnston’s commitments to the Canadian national team.
Nashville recently signed right-back Dylan Nealis, who is himself a starting quality fullback and should provide plenty of cover for Alistair Johnston. Eric Miller also returned to the squad, and on the left, Taylor Washington and Nick Hinds are options behind lock down starter Dan Lovitz.
Nashville has plenty of depth at both fullback spots, and much less depth in midfield. While Donasiyano’s long term future may be at outside back, he could have an immediate impact in midfield. Donasiyano will join Nashville ahead of their match against Inter Miami CF on Sunday, May 2.
Hometown: Roanoke, Virginia
Nationality: United States
Last club: University of Virginia
How Acquired: Selected by Nashville SC with the No. 20 overall pick in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, presented by adidas