Former Duke University forward Mike Grella
has wasted no time in finishing college, turning down Major League Soccer, and signing a contract with his new
team, English third-tier side Leeds United.
Grella, who graduated in December, told Luke DeCock
, "If I could have done school in a year,
I would have done it in a year." He was a third-round pick in last month's SuperDraft for Toronto FC, but chose to go on a two-week trial with Leeds United instead. One reserve team hat trick later
and he was offered an 18-month contract by the three-time English champion. Immigration red tape was avoided by obtaining an Italian passport through his parents, who are first-generation
"I had heard of Leeds before going over, obviously, and I was excited about it," Grella said. "Of course, you hear it's in the third division and you're a little
skeptical about it. But the facilities are fantastic, and the fan base. I went to a couple home games and the atmosphere was fantastic." The player is roughly fifth or sixth on the Leeds depth
chart at striker, and has a year and a half to make an impression. "I have until the end of the season and the entire next season," he said. "I definitely have some time to prove myself."
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