When LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena scouted potential SuperDraft prospects at the MLS Combine on Jan. 8, he was intrigued with Dartmouth University’s Daniel Keat.
“In the first day of the combine,” Arena told MLSsoccer.com, “I actually thought he was the best player there.”
Keat, however, was not among the players selected in the SuperDraft. So when the Galaxy were up with their first Supplemental Draft pick, it was only natural for the Galaxy to nab Keat, one of four players LA selected on Tuesday.
WATCH: Daniel Keat highlights
“I know he got a little nick in the second day, but he was highly regarded,” Arena said. “We didn’t take him in the early going for a variety of reasons, but absolutely surprised that we were able to get him in the Supplemental Draft.”
After dealing their third-round SuperDraft choice to D.C. United, the Galaxy received the third-overall pick in the Supplemental Draft and took the 23-year-old Keat, a native of New Zealand who played for the Kiwis in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
He finished his Dartmouth career with 20 goals and 13 assists, and helped lead the team to the third round of the NCAA Tournament, where Dartmouth lost to UCLA.
“I’ve watched him play closely this year,” Arena said. "I saw him against UCLA and thought he was among the best players on the field in a game with a bunch of talented players."
How Keat fits into the Galaxy is what Arena and the coaching staff must assess.
“He’s a box-to-box player and obviously that’s going to have to be analyzed at the next level,” Arena said. “But I think he’s a talented player with a great engine, looks like a player that’s really alert and has a good mind for the game.”
The Galaxy also added Stanford left back and Claremont, Calif., native Ryan Thomas later in the first round. Thomas offers the Galaxy “excellent speed in that position, which is something we need,” according to Arena.
The club also took Dustin McCarty from North Carolina in the second round. McCarty’s claim to fame? His brother Dax plays for D.C. United.
“[He] has a good bloodline,” Arena said. “He’s a headsy player like Dax, a little bit different, basically a holding midfielder but a good player. Again, he’s a surprise he’s around this late.”
Rounding out their draft was West Virginia goalkeeper Zach Johnson who, at 6-foot-4, has “great tools at the professional level,” Arena said.
With the help of the reserve league, Arena said they will be patient in helping these players blossom into solid and effective pros.
“We’re going to put a lot of energy into developing these young kids and I’d say the same with the players we got in the SuperDraft,” Arena said. “These are young players who have a future. We’re not going to put the gun to their heads early and expect them to play with the first team, but we’re going to put them in an environment where they can improve.”