Los Angeles Soccer: Dartmouth
The Dartmouth-educated New Zealander is a two-way central midfielder taken with the third overall selection in the Jan. 18 supplemental draft -- basically, the start of the fourth round.
A lot of players taken before Keat have been cut from rosters around the league, but Bruce Arena's plan from day one has been to keep his five draft picks. The Galaxy coach has the sharpest eye in American soccer for talent and for team-building, and he only selected players he wanted on his roster.
Keat was one of them, and for that he's thankful, and with reason. His injury might have cost him a chance elsewhere in the league, but he's already signed his L.A. contract and is looking forward to getting onto the field.
“I'm ready to go,” he said. “I've been itching to play for a long time.”
Here are five questions with Keat:
You've not been on the field; how has the team been treating you?
They've had a lot of confidence and faith to stick with me through this time, and they've said just be patient and keep working hard, and I hope it will work out. That's all I can really do.
You know, when you're injured, you've got to almost work harder than if you're training, to make sure you do all the right things and look after your body and make sure that you're ready when you get out on the field. … It's a little tough, coming in and being in the training room a lot. It's not where you want to be, being a rookie and missing out on all the hard work, but all I can do is go in and show that I'm working hard, and the guys, I think, can see that.
How did you end up at Dartmouth?
They had an assistant coach from New Zealand, and I grew up with Craig Henderson, who was a year ahead of me [at Dartmouth]. … It all stems from the [Notre Dame men's coach and former New Zealand national team boss] Bobby Clarke connection back to New Zealand. At a basic level, all New Zealanders stem from that, so I have to thank him and a lot of people for where I am now.
I knew some guys from my club that [went to college in the U.S.] -- Mike Wilson went to Stanford, and, obviously, there are players doing well, like Ryan Nelsen and Simon Elliott, who came through the system and went on to have great careers. I was never going to stay in New Zealand. I think I decided when I was about 15 I was going to go to Europe or end up in the States. So [coming to America] was a very real option and something that worked out wonderfully for me.
UC Santa Barbara defender Michael Boxall -- initially considered a potential first-rounder in last week's SuperDraft, but his stock dropped after a poor combine (and because, as a New Zealander, he counts as a foreign player -- was the top pick in Tuesday's proceedings, going to Vancouver.
Stanford's Ryan Thomas (Claremont/Claremont HS) was selected with the second of the Galaxy's two first-round picks.
“I was watching the draft online and it was a shock to me to be picked by the Galaxy,” Thomas told Stanford's website. “I grew up in L.A. and would go to watch the Galaxy games at the Rose Bowl, and now I am going to get to play on that field.”
The Galaxy, of course, moved from the Rose Bowl to the Home Depot Center in 2003, but it still plays the occasional friendly in Pasadena.
Loyola Marymount midfielder Rafael Baca (Lawndale/Animo Leadership HS) wasn't selected and is available to attend any MLS camp as a free agent.
The supplemental's three rounds effectively were rounds 4, 5 and 6 from Tuesday's draft, and most teams used their selections for prospects who will be needed with restoration of the reserve league.
DANIEL KEAT: New Zealand national-teamer, a four-time All-Ivy League pick and an All-American as a junior, was a savvy, aggressive central midfielder at Dartmouth who might be better suited to wing play in MLS.
The junior midfielder with extensive U.S. youth national team experience, tapped home from close range after a long throw-in just eight seconds before the end of overtime to lift UCLA past visiting Dartmouth, 2-1, and into the NCAA Division I men's quarterfinals.
The Bruins (15-4-1) will play Saturday at top-ranked Louisville (18-0-3), with the winner advancing to the College Cup final four Dec. 10 and 12 at UC Santa Barbara.
Arreola (Chino Hills/Chino Hills HS), whose blast to the upper-right corner gave the Bruins (16-4-1) a 26th-minute lead, had scored only once in the first 19 games of the season.
“It's unreal,” Arreola told UCLA's athletics website after a throw-in into the Dartmouth box by freshman Joe Sofia (Dove Canyon/Mission Viejo HS) was headed onto his path by a Big Green defender. “Words cannot describe this feeling right now. It's a dream come true. I've been waiting for this day when I could score at Drake Stadium, and today I was able to score for the team and help us get to the next round.”
Eight more seconds, and the game would have been decided on penalty kicks.
The eighth-seeded Bruins (15-4-1) will be home next Sunday against Dartmouth (12-6-1), which beat Notre Dame, 2-1, in overtime.
UCLA took command of a tight game as Hoffman scored in the 55th minute and freshman Reed Williams (Newport Beach/Corona del Mar HS) in the 58th. Hoffman, who has scored in four straight games, got his second in the 73rd, and freshman Victor Chavez (Fontana/A.B. Miller HS) made it 4-0 in the 85th.
Ernesto Carranza scored for Sacramento State (11-5-7) in the 87th.
“We started out the game a little bit slowly,” UCLA coach Jorge Salcedo told the school's website. “I thought some of the guys seemed nervous, and it took us a little bit to get going, but in the second half, how can you not be happy with four goals? Our production in front of goal in the second half was very good.”