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LAFC select Javi Perez, Kevin Mendoza in 2019 MLS Draft late rounds

International midfielders likely to get a shot in preseason.

MLS: Combine
Perez (right) in action at the MLS Combine.
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The final two rounds of the 2019 MLS Draft were conducted on Monday via conference call, and Los Angeles Football Club selected midfielder Javi Perez with the 16th pick in the third round (No. 64 overall) and midfielder Kevin Mendoza with the 1st pick of the fourth round (No. 73 overall).

Perez is a native of Valencia, Spain who played collegiately at Pitt. He is, in fact, the second Spanish midfielder from Pitt selected by LAFC in the draft in as many years, following Pol Calvet Planellas in 2018. Perez captained Pitt, and came through the Valencia set-up as a youth player.

In 2018, he started 19 games for the Panthers, scoring four goals and three assists.

Here’s an interview with the player in college:

Mendoza was born and raised in Mexico City, coming through Cruz Azul’s academy. The midfielder spent four years at Liberty University, scoring 32 goals in 49 games. Coming from a small school, he appeared to do pro days around the league, posting photos in San Jose Earthquakes and Columbus Crew SC gear the last couple months.

Here’s a highlight video on his Twitter feed:

While many had predicted LAFC could draft an American defender in this draft, in fact they drafted three international midfielders, including Jamaican Peter-Lee Vassell, their top selection this year in the draft. While Vassell seems likely to make LAFC’s roster, reportedly on loan for this year, Perez and Mendoza are getting probable invitations to LAFC’s preseason camp, and they’ll have an uphill battle to earn a roster spot. It’s not impossible, but their status as internationals means they have to do more to earn that spot, so we’ll see what happens. But congrats and good luck to Javi and Kevin.

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