Michigan – Farai Mutatu received a big surprise during Tuesday’s MLS SuperDraft.
His parents, who he hasn’t seen in person since 2014, announced via video call during the draft that he had been selected by the Galaxy in the first round (No. 21 overall).
“It was a complete surprise,” said Mutatu, who played at Michigan State. “I had no idea they were going to do that. It was amazing. Afterward, I talked to my mom and I was surprised she was able to use Zoom.”
Mutatu and his family came to the U.S. in 2006 from Zimbabwe to Haslett, Michigan. However, he said his mother and father had to return in 2014.
He credits his support system of his oldest brothers (Trinity and Ranfariro) and the James family, a local family in Haslett, Michigan, as he went through middle school, high school and eventually Michigan State.
“I have to thank God, because he’s been protecting me,” he said of his journey. “I would be lying if I said it wasn’t hard, but we have a tight family and I was able to get a scholarship and an amazing opportunity to play at Michigan State and now this opportunity, being drafted by the Galaxy.”
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) January 12, 2022
Mutatu scored seven goals for the Spartans last season and as a freshman earned Big Ten All-Freshman Team honours.
He was invited to the MLS Combine and although he didn’t have any meetings with the Galaxy, he felt he had done enough to get noticed.
“I was aware of them (at the Combine),” he said. “We played two games, I thought I was able to showcase myself well and get some eyes on me.”
Mutatu’s versatility is what has set him apart.
“I’ve played the nine (forward) at Michigan State. I’ve trained as a right back. I’ve played as a winger,” he said. “I’ve been able to adapt to different positions.
“Playing in the Big Ten, the good thing is that each team gives you a different challenge. You have to adapt to teams that either sit back or press you and I think that has helped me over the years.”
Mutatu has only been to California once, spending his spring break of 2019 on a Mission trip with a church in South Central Los Angeles. With the Galaxy opening training camp later this week, he’s ready to get back to town.
With its other picks, the Galaxy selected Clemson midfielder Callum Johnson (No. 42 overall) and St. Louis defender Chandler Vaughn (No. 60).
Locally, UCLA defender Ahmed Longmire was selected by Nashville SC in the first round (No. 10 overall) and Loyola Marymount goalkeeper Jacob Jackson went 24th to the New England Revolution.
In the second round, UCLA defender Ben Reveno was also selected by the Revolution (No. 52 overall).
Cal State Northridge midfielder Giovanni Aguilar was selected No. 49 overall by the Vancouver Whitecaps.