#3 Phanuel Kavita
Height: 6’ 1”
Hometown: Lubumbashi, DR Congo
Previous Club: Saint Louis FC (USL Championship)
Team MVP in 2021, Phanuel Kavita thrived in his first season with Legion FC. With a defensive impact always felt, Kavita played in every game with 32 appearances and was only subbed-off once. He led the club with 25 blocks and an 87.7% passing accuracy. Additionally, he racked up 87 clearances and 33 interceptions. He was a key part of Birmingham’s rock-solid backline throughout the 2021 season which led them to having the second least goals conceded in the league.
Kavita kept up his form in 2022, tying with forward Enzo Martinez for most appearances and starts (35). He registered 1,260 passes and maintained his dominant pass accuracy from 2021 with 86.4 (second on team). Furthermore, he had the second most clearances (99), the most blocks (35 — 1 per match), and was second in aerial duels (113).
In his childhood, Kavita moved from Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Cong to Utah as a refugee. In high school, he joined the Real Salt Lake Academy, before playing collegiately at Clemson University from 2011 to 2014. As a Tiger, he started in all 81 games in which he featured and captained the team to the ACC Tournament Championship, where he was named to the All-ACC Tournament team in 2014.
The defender then signed a homegrown contract with Real Salt Lake in 2015, and made one appearance for the club, but spent most of his time in Utah with the Real Monarchs. He made 38 appearances for the USL side and scored one goal across the 2015-2016 seasons. In 2017, he played for Puerto Rico FC in the North American Soccer League, where he made 27 appearances and scored another goal.
Kavita then spent the past three seasons playing for Saint Louis FC where he made 88 appearances, 84 of which were starts, and bagged three goals and one assist. In 2019 and 2020, he started 54 of the 56 STLFC matches and played every single minute in all 54 of those games. He finished this past campaign as Saint Louis’s leader in passes, blocks, and minutes played, was second in clearances, and fourth in tackles and tackles won.