Phanuel "Phanny" Kavita, to put it simply, is a real success story of the RSL Casa Grande Academy. The imposing defender signed a homegrown contract with the club in January. After a four year tenure with the Clemson Tigers of the ACC, the 22 year-old Highland High School native made his way back to the Wasatch Front.
Kavita made two appearance for the Claret-and-Cobalt in 2015 going the complete 90 in both. He also registered a shot on goal and only conceded two fouls. Despite his limited time with the first team, Kavita was a strong presence at the back and was dangerous in the opponent's box.
Like Lalo Fernandez, Kavita also found a home with the Real Monarchs in 2015. He started 18 matches and keyed the Monarchs backline. Despite leading a leaky defense, Kavita played physically and dominated opponents. He also remained calm and collected in possession and became an excellent passer of the ball - keeping in RSL's tradition of center backs. To cap off a good inaugural season for the defender, Phanuel scored his first professional goal and maintained a fifty percent shots on target average.
His first year as a professional turned out to be a good but not great year for the young defender. For all of Kavita's strengths he did marshal a leaky defense for both RSL and the Monarchs. Looking to improve next year, Kavita will have to address his side's two goals conceded average - or close to it - when he is on the field. The fledgling but impressive defender must learn to better communicate with his defensive partners in order to stop the opposition from finding the back of the net. Time will improve these bonds but familiarizing himself with the tendencies of his teammates will go a long way into improving his overall game.
Gaining more match minutes and improving his reading of the game will go a long way for Kavita in 2016. With a strong list of defenders on the Claret-and-Cobalt, Kavita will have to work hard to find first team minutes in his second season but we can all expect him to retain the mantle for the Real Monarchs.
As one of the most developed and experienced young defenders on the roster, Kavita has a lot of potential to excel in this league.
Editor's note: This is part of a series of player profiles that we'll be posting over the next month as review 2015. Check out our 2014 player profiles.