It was the moment of the 2022 MLS Draft, when Michigan State forward Farai Mutatu was selected by the LA Galaxy in the first round. What made it so special? The player’s parents, living in Zimbabwe and who he’s been unable to see in person since 2014, announced his selection on the virtual broadcast.
Born in Zimbabwe but moving to Michigan as a young child, Mutatu effectively played for his hometown college at MSU and was a standout. But the road these days in MLS is tough for draft picks, with many hardly even getting a look by clubs these days.
Initial impressions over Mutatu by Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney, however, indicate the rookie may have a good shot of sticking and earning a contract this year.
“I would say Farai’s been impressive since day one. Obviously showing up and being fit and strong and and winning the beep test pretty handily is a good sign for yourself in terms of that you’re ready to go,” Vanney told reporters last week.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean everything but it’s certainly a great first impression for the young man. I mean, he’s powerful, he’s dynamic.”
Mutatu was a forward in college, but Vanney said the team is experimenting with him in preseason to see where he may fit the best.
“He’s shown to be able to do different things. I mean, we’ve played him up top a little bit, we’ve played him out wide, there’s some some talk about him maybe being able to play even from a deeper position wide. So for us we feel like he just has a lot of potential and I need to learn about him more and more about what his greatest strengths are but he has shown really well in this first four days,” he said.
Ultimately, while nothing is guaranteed and Mutatu may ultimately begin his pro career with LA Galaxy II — which we’ve seen in the past can be a launching pad for players coming out of college — Vanney did say the newcomer has a shot of earning a first-team contract in 2022.
“It’s still early doors in all of this, but I think he’s competing to be within the first team mix and competing to be a player that can that can help our team this year,” Vanney said. “Again, he has a lot of attributes that have him ready to compete, at least physically at the MLS level. And then it’s just again to figure out what is the best role, what’s the best position to help him be successful short term and long term within within the group of players that we have, but he’s certainly done a nice job to to create a first impression for himself.”
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