CARSON, Calif. – Kyle Venter has no grandiose designs with the LA Galaxy and isn’t planning on taking MLS by storm in his rookie season.
The club’s top 2014 MLS SuperDraft selection (second round, 23rd overall) out of the University of New Mexico revealed he has much more realistic goals.
“Pretty simple,” he said as he participates in his first training camp. “Come in and work hard and get better every day.”
The 6-foot-3 center back, Conference USA’s most valuable player and defensive player of the year as a senior, said it hasn’t taken him long to adjust to his new surroundings.
He added he also feels fortunate in that he couldn’t have asked for a better environment.
“The guys have made it an easy transition… the players, coaches, trainers for me so that I can go out there and play,” he said after training this week. “Every day I’m getting adjusted, picking up little things here and there.
“I feel really comfortable.”
That’s a far cry from what he experienced two weeks ago in Philadelphia, site of the SuperDraft. Venter was regarded as one of college soccer’s top prospects but he admitted he had no idea where he would wind up. He did talk with teams at the scouting combine in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., earlier this month but got no real handle on various clubs’ interest.
So there he sat in the audience at the Philadelphia Convention Center watching other players being taken off the board ahead of him. His cell phone continually vibrated with texts from friends wondering where he was going to go.
“It was little nerve-wracking. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t,” he said with a smile. “In that sense I was very confident in the fact I had done everything possible to that point to put me in the best situation.”
Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena said he was surprised Venter, who started 85 of 86 matches in four years with the Lobos and became New Mexico’s all-time leader in minutes played, was available when it came time for the Galaxy to make their selection.
“We didn’t expect him to be around in the second round,” he said. “If he was going to be there, we would take him.
“He’s going to be a good player. We’ll move him along appropriately. It’s still early for him; we want to give him a little time to settle in and allow him to grow as a player.”
Venter, who turns 23 in March, said camp “has been awesome so far” and he plans to take things one day at a time.
“If things fall into place, that’s great,” he said. “With the World Cup and other things opportunities may open up, but I’m not going to change my approach.
“Just work hard and get better every day.”