Duke forward Mike Grella skipped the MLS Player Combine, making known his intentions of playing abroad, and when he was drafted by Toronto FC with the 34th pick in the MLS SuperDraft, Grella was reportedly already in London on trial with the Leeds United reserve squad.
But the ACC Offensive Player of the Year may not be on trial for much longer if he keeps playing the way he did Tuesday.
Grella, who was only granted permission to play with Leeds yesterday, scored a hat trick in his first game in London as Leeds' reserve beat Barnsley FC's reserve 4-0.
For those of you wondering what a trial is—or how to read anything else in this Sky Sports report that broke the news—we turned to Ives Galarcep. Galarcep is the owner of Soccer by Ives, which is now officially the best soccer blog, a fact that we've known for a while. Here's Galarcep's definition:
A trial is a tryout. Basically if you're a free agent (or a player whose club is okay with him shopping himself) then your tryout is called a trial in soccer terminology. Basically they see him in training and in some reserve games and decide if they like him enough to offer him a contract.
Associate editor and soccer enthusiast David Ungvary points out that Leeds is in League One, which is to the Premier League as Double A is to Major League Baseball. Galarcep went a bit further: He said it would be more like a Double A split-squad game.
Grella led Duke with 14 goals and 36 points last year, and four of his goals were game-winners. All three marks were team highs.
And while toiling in a reserve match for a third-tier team may not be what Grella had in mind, he may get a shot to test his mettle for longer. Vital Leeds United, one of the club's unofficial fan sites, wrote:
There was a host of scouts at the game looking at quite a few Leeds players Grayson may be ready to offload, they may now turn their attention to the young American.
Follow Grella's progress on The Sports Blog, and also check out Soccer by Ives' coverage of Grella's trip abroad. The comments, in particular, are especially revealing. Word of warning: not everyone is a Grella fan.
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