Peter-Lee Vassell is not your ordinary SuperDraft selection.
Picked by LAFC with the No. 40 overall selection, Vassell didn't play a single minute of NCAA or NAIA soccer. The Jamaican midfielder's route to the SuperDraft was through the Caribbean Combine held by MLS in October of last year.
Vassell joined a group of the top talent from countries in the Carribean. The midfielder was named the Carribean Combine MVP and became the lone invitee to the MLS Combine held prior to the draft.
In addition to his journey through two combines to the MLS SuperDraft, Vassell, unlike most MLS draftees, is a senior international with Jamaica, having played nine times for his national team. The midfielder took a moment to speak with me about his draft day experience and his future with LAFC:
What Were Your Emotions When Your Name Was Called On Draft Day?
Was a lot of mixed emotions. I was kind of nervous but more happy than nervous. It’s just a wonderful feeling to know that you get selected and get drafted to one of the best clubs as well. So, it was a wonderful feeling for me.
Your Path To The SuperDraft Included Two Combines. What Was That Like Playing In Both The Caribbean Combine And The MLS Combine?
It was a hard test. At the Caribbean Combine it was nice, you know the guys and it’s easier to play with each other. You know them from club and country also. And then to come to the SuperDraft combine, it was a very hard step because you haven’t trained with the guys and you don’t know the guys. It was hard for me to understand the players and to play. For the first game, we had one training before. It wasn’t much. But for the second game, I started to understand the guys a little.
After Your Combine Experiences, How Did You Prepare Yourself Leading Up To The SuperDraft?
I was prepared for anything. I was just ready to get drafted. I was kind of nervous. The night before, I was watching clips of the 2017 draft to get my mind frame ready for whatever is come. So, I was prepared for it.
What Type Of Player Are You On The Pitch?
I’m a positional player. I play midfield, as a No. 8 or No. 10. I like to keep pushing as well. I like to go and attack. I like to shift as well when the time and space are there.
Is There A Professional Player You Model Your Game Around?
Kevin De Bruyne is my favorite footballer. I like his spacing off and on the ball, his awareness, and he always sees the pass before it happens.
What Is Your Mindset Heading Into Preseason Camp With LAFC?
It’s a work in progress for me to come in and meet the guys. Get friendly with the guys because we turn into a family. Once I can get an understanding off the field with the guys, on the field it will be much easier for me. I’m pretty ready for what is at hand. I’m ready to try at the Club and I’m ready to help the Club win the league. That’s my first priority, help the Club win the league.
Is There Anything You Are Looking Forward To Doing In LA?
My focus isn’t on doing things off the field. My focus is on coming there and to play football. That’s what my biggest focus is right now. Once I get that first, then there will be other time for other stuff. Right now, my main priority is to come there and play football.
Do You Have Anything You Want To Say Directly To LAFC Fans?
I’m always a fan-type person. I really love my fans and supporters. So, I just want to say a big shout out to the 3252. I can’t wait to meet you guys.