Former Pitt midfielder Javi Perez was selected by the Los Angeles Football Club in the third round of the 2019 MLS draft on Monday afternoon. He was taken with the 64th overall pick, becoming just the second player in the history of the program to be drafted into the top professional league in the United States.
The first was Perez’s former teammate, Pol Planellas, who was also picked up by LAFC in the 2018 draft. Planellas was selected in the second round with the 24th overall pick, but he failed to secure a spot on the L.A. roster and was cut before the season.
Like Planellas, Perez hails from Spain and came of age in the academies of La Liga. Prior to his arrival in Pittsburgh, he played for Valencia’s youth teams for 15 years and served as a captain for 12 of those years. That experience prepared him for the college game, as he then came to Pitt as a junior and served as the team’s captain in 2017 and 2018.
During his two-year stint with the Panthers, Perez appeared in 35 games, scoring six goals and setting up seven more. And while those numbers don't leap off the page, he did play a central role in Pitt's offense and was recognized as a second-team All-ACC player on two occasions for his efforts.
Shortly after his selection, Perez commented on the development in a statement.
”I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity LAFC has given me,” Perez said. “It’s an honor to be a part of such a great organization. Now, it’s time to get to work.”