HERRIMAN, Utah (Friday, November 22, 2019) – Real Salt Lake announced on Friday that the club has hired Arnold Rijsenburg as the Director of Coaching for the RSL Academy. He joins a staff that already includes RSL Academy Director Tom Spall and three new coaches, Cody Worden, Chris Gores, Rob Rogers and Luke Baxter.
“Arnold’s resumé speaks for itself and we are thrilled to have him join our staff,” Real Salt Lake Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Rob Zarkos said. “With our vision of youth development, there couldn’t be a better addition to our staff so we can give our young Academy players every opportunity to flourish within the system.”
Rijsenburg joins the RSL pyramid with lofty credentials, highlighted by his time at Standard Liege and RSC Anderlecht in Belgium. His resumé also includes stints with RJ Wavre (Belgium) Oud-Heverlee Leuven (Belgium), Academy ASPIRE (Qatar) and the Kenyan National Team as well as work with the ODP program, U.S. Soccer and the Belgian Football Federation. While at Standard Liege and RSL Anderlecht, he trained the likes of eventual Belgium World Cup participants Axel Witsel, Marouane Fellani, Nacer Chadli and Romelu Lukaku, along with other internationals Christian Benteke (Belgium), Reginal Geroux (Haiti) and Mehdi Carcela (Morocco), among others.
Born in Suriname and raised in the Netherlands, Rijsenburg’s playing career included 15 seasons in Belgium with six different clubs before retiring in 2001 with Racing Jet Wavre, returning to the club where he played the majority of his career from 1992-1996.
“The fact that they believe in what I believe in is what convinced me. They want to work with you and like the message I was giving and that convinced me straight away,” Rijsenburg said. “I know what I can do. I know what the staff can do. I am 100% confident that we will get the results. We believe in what we are doing and the curriculum that we are implementing. We know we can produce players … and we will.”
Real Salt Lake’s Academy has produced 53 players who have gone on to sign professional contracts, including 12 with Real Salt Lake in 2019 on a team that finished third in the Western Conference and advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals for the second consecutive season.