Galaxy selects UCF forward Gino Vivi in first round of MLS SuperDraft

Gino Vivi said he didn’t have any expectations entering Wednesday’s MLS SuperDraft.

Things quickly became a reality at the No. 23 pick in the first round when the Galaxy selected the winger out of Central Florida.

“Since the beginning, I went in with zero expectations,” Vivi said by phone. “I was hoping that someone would pick me. I wasn’t sure what to do (when he received the call), I just sat there and watched the TV.”

Vivi played four seasons at Central Florida. In 61 appearances, he scored 19 goals with 23 assists.

“I’ve mostly played on the right,” he said. “I can play on the left too and I can play as a No. 10, but I’ve mostly played as a winger.”

Vivi attended the MLS College Cup Showcase earlier this month in North Carolina. The event brings together 44 collegiate players for a weekend of training, interviews and games in front of MLS coaching staffs. Vivi said he didn’t have contact with the Galaxy during the weekend.

“They divided us into 22 teams, we did some agility, speed tests and trained,” he said. “I think I gave a good effort and showcased some of my qualities. It was a different scenario and environment because you’re with players you’ve never played with, but I thought I adapted well and did well enough to catch somebody’s eye.”

Vivi was born in Costa Rica and played with the Deportivo Saprissa U-20 team before moving to the U.S. to attend UCF.

“It was the best decision that I could have made,” he said. “UCF was an amazing team and program and the coaching staff is incredibly supportive. They created so many good memories and experiences for me and the friends I’ve made are friends for life.”

Vivi left UCF tied for 10th on the program’s career points list (61) and fifth in career assists (23). He played in just 10 games last season because of a soft tissue injury, but he said he’s healthy now.

The Galaxy is scheduled to open training camp on Jan. 7.

In the second round (No. 52 overall), the Galaxy selected goalkeeper Russell Shealy out of the Atlanta United MLS NEXT system. Shealy played college soccer at Syracuse and Maryland.

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