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2016 Player Profiles, #19: Phanuel Kavita

The Chipotle MLS Homegrown Match and Real Monarchs kept Kavita sharp as his development continued.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Philadelphia Union Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

As a Homegown Player, Phanuel “Phanny” Kavita is a real success story of the Real Salt Lake Casa Grande Academy. After a college career with the Clemson Tigers of the ACC, the 23 year-old Highland High School native continued his development and grew his name recognition in the league.

After a single appearance for the Claret-and-Cobalt in 2016, Kavita was selected by Landon Donovan to join the MLS Homegown camp in the wake of the 2016 Chipotle MLS Homegrown Match. Kavita had a strong showing despite his side ultimately losing 2-0 to the Mexican U23s. Unlike his compatriot Justen Glad, however, Kavita played the entire 90 minutes and impeded many opposition plays in the waning minutes of the match.

Like Boyd Okwuonu, Kavita also found a home with the Real Monarchs in 2016. He started 17 matches and marshalled the Monarchs backline in his 20 total appearances. Once again, the Monarchs suffered from a leaking defense, but Kavita would be the lone bright spot in that tale. Kavita played physically and remained calm in possession – keeping in RSL’s tradition of center backs. The Real Monarchs looked much stronger with Kavita on the backline than without.

His sophomore season mirrored his first season as a professional, being a good, solid year but not a great one for the young defender. For all of Kavita’s strengths he played a part in leaky defenses for all the squads he played for. Looking to improve next year, Kavita will have to address the average of conceding two goals for whatever team he appears. 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 continuing to 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. As Jamison Olave departs the club, Kavita could work his way up the depth chart and earn some more first team minutes . He will almost certainly remain with the team given he is a Homegrown Player, a status that will remain at least for the 2017 season. With a strong list of young defenders on the Claret-and-Cobalt, Kavita will have to work hard to earn his minutes with the organization 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, a path made easier following in the footsteps of Justen Glad.