Former CSUN soccer star Danny Trejo selected by LAFC in MLS SuperDraft


CSUN Athletics

Daniel Trejo becomes the latest CSUN alumnus to join the pros.

Andres Soto, Sports Editor

As a child, Danny Trejo would go to the park just to kick his soccer ball every day. Soccer was more than just a game for him, it was the way he could make sure his parents would never have to work again. Trejo is now closer than ever to that goal.

The Los Angeles Football Club selected Trejo with the 14th overall pick in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft on Thursday.

“It’s another step closer,” Trejo said. “That’s my main goal. I just have to do whatever I have to do to get to that goal. I have to make sure that I keep working … and just make sure I don’t cheat the game at any time, and I know it will come.”

Following his junior season, Trejo participated in the 2019 Adidas MLS College Showcase from Dec. 13-15 before ultimately deciding to return to CSUN for his senior season. After the Big West Conference postponed the 2020 soccer season from fall to spring ,Trejo declared his intentions to go pro.

“He gives 1,000% in everything he does and has the talent and winning mentality that honestly can’t be taught,” CSUN senior midfielder Gio Aguilar said. “Over the years we played together he just showed his consistency and work rate every-time he stepped on either the training or game field.”

Trejo is the latest Matador soccer player to be selected into the MLS and the highest draft pick since Sean Franklin was taken fourth overall by the LA Galaxy in 2008.

“When he was being recruited, Danny told me this had been a big dream for him,” CSUN soccer head coach Terry Davila said. “That was one of his big goals, with the other being that he graduate in three years.”

Trejo was one of the most decorated players in CSUN history, as he was named Big West Offensive Player of the Year, First Team All-Conference and Second Team All-Region in 2019. Trejo was also the Big West’s active career leader in goals and points. He was named a pre-season All-American by College Soccer News in 2020 shortly before he left for the MLS SuperDraft.

“He is one of the most balanced, hard working, and quality humans I’ve seen,” Davila said. “You put all those qualities together and that might make him the most well-rounded player that ever came through our program.”

LAFC is coming off another disappointing end to a dominant regular season, as they were eliminated from the MLS Cup Playoffs by the Seattle Sounders for the second year in a row. They also participated in the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League, where they advanced to the final but were defeated 2-1 by Liga MX team Tigres UANL.

Trejo will have the opportunity to learn under star forwards Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi while playing alongside them.

“Those are top-level players and I get a chance to play with them hopefully,” Trejo said about his new teammates. “I’m just very happy and excited to be able to share the field with them, I’m going to make sure that I give it my all and learn every day as much as possible.”

Trejo’s hometown of Mendota, Calif. shared in the excitement of Trejo becoming a professional athlete by using him as an example for youth in the town.

“Maybe they don’t believe it’s a dream that can be accomplished, because you don’t see that often anywhere around here,” said Juan Magaña, Trejo’s high school coach. “That’s what he’s been striving to do … not just motivate himself, but motivate others as well.”

It was an especially emotional moment for Magaña, who remains close with Trejo after coaching him for four years at Mendota High School. Magaña was in contact with him throughout the draft process.

“I’ve been with him since he was 14,” Magaña said. “So for me it was very emotional. I could just picture how he was, or his parents. I shed a couple tears.”

In addition to representing Mendota, Trejo gets to start his professional career in Los Angeles, the same city where he spent his college career.

“Los Angeles is somewhere I always wanted to be at, especially coming out of high school,” Trejo said. “Now that I have the chance to stay in Los Angeles again with a great club, one of the best clubs in the MLS, I’m just very thankful for the opportunity and I can’t wait to get started.”

While his spot on LAFC’s roster is far from guaranteed, Danny Trejo is one step closer to his dreams, one step closer to his goals and one step closer to making his own name.