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Overlooked LAFC draft pick Danny Trejo ‘appealing story’ as he seeks pro soccer dream

Forward hopes to break through via unconventional path.

CSUN Athletic Department

LAFC draft pick Danny Trejo may have a famous name already, but the attacker hopes he’s only midway on his Hollywood story.

Asked if he had met his famous namesake, who has been to an LAFC game before, the soccer player told reporters Thursday after the 2021 MLS SuperDraft that he had not met the actor, but “I always get asked questions about him and everything,” and the star machine linking the two men was in full force by the end of the day.

Time will tell if Trejo the soccer player will get the nickname Machete, but it’s a decent shout, right?

But Trejo, who was a star at Cal State Northridge, is done with college and ready to see if he can make it at the MLS level.

He’s got a background to root for, that’s for sure. A native of Mendota, a small city in Fresno County, Trejo broke a record for scoring in the state of California at his high school and that led to him getting on the radar of colleges.

With the development pipeline these days prioritizing academies and club soccer over high school ball, even in locations like Trejo’s where he admitted club soccer was hard to participate in and the academy system impossible because he would need to go two hours away to find it, his story highlights a need for the college system and the MLS Draft to look for players who fell through the cracks of the youth soccer industrial complex.

LAFC GM John Thorrington, who took the opposite path as a player, coming through global powerhouse Manchester United’s academy, recognized the value of looking for overlooked players.

“I was speaking to our Academy director, Todd Saldaña, who obviously knows the youth landscape really well, and has done for quite some time. And as I got to know a bit more about Danny’s story and I actually thought it’s really appealing, in a sense. We have our philosophies, obviously we turn over every stone, and whether that’s a prospect that’s across the globe, with our scouting operation in other countries [or more locally], but I actually really think it’s an intriguing story and, obviously, it says a lot about him that he didn’t come through a normal path to get to Northridge and then his success there. We’re just intrigued to see what it looks like when we get him in training once once we start,” Thorrington told reporters on a conference call Thursday.

Trejo isn’t under contract to LAFC, as he’ll have to show what he can do in the upcoming preseason training camp in order to earn a pro deal. But he’s one step closer to going from a boy from Mendota to a professional soccer player in Los Angeles.

“Obviously, it’s a great opportunity,” Trejo said. “I feel like for a lot of kids, a dream is to be able to play for a club that is close to home. And if you get the chance to be able to represent that club, I’m pretty sure it’s a great feeling and how the way I’m feeling right now. I’m just very happy, you know, LAFC was able to give me the chance. And it’s just a great chance for me, man.”

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