From ball boy to team member: RSL signs ‘Utah grown’ player

Posted at 10:26 PM, Jan 14, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY -- Phanuel Kavita is the newest member of Real Salt Lake, but his association with the team started years ago--not long after his family moved to Utah from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“It started at Rice-Eccles Stadium when RSL was still over there,” Kavita said. “My team got selected to be the ball boys over there. Thinking about where I am now, it’s pretty incredible.”

After playing high school soccer at Highland High School, Kavita played one year at RSL’s academy in Arizona. That’s where he caught the attention of the MLS club.

“That’s where the idea came from actually,” Kavita said.

He went on to play college soccer at Clemson University, where he was a four-year starter and team captain as a junior and senior. He graduated in December, and with the MLS draft looming, RSL signed him as a homegrown player before another team could pick him up.

“If you’re a homegrown player Real Salt Lake has first choice,” Kavita said.

He’s a central defender that should add depth to RSL’s back line