HERRIMAN, Utah (Thursday, August 25, 2022) – Real Monarchs have announced the signing of Real Salt Lake Academy defender Luis Rivera to an MLS NEXT Pro professional contract, pending league approval.
“During his time in our Academy, Luis has shown he has elite potential. Our staff looks forward to continuing to work with Luis and create an environment where he can further develop, and understand the efforts required to earn a career reflective of his level of talent," Assistant General Manager Tony Beltran said.
At just 14 years, 8 months and 24 days old, Rivera becomes the youngest to ever sign directly with Real Monarchs, surpassing fellow El Paso, Texas native Jaziel Orozco, who inked his contract at 16 years old. He is also the first from last year’s U-15 class to sign a professional contract under the Real Salt Lake umbrella.
Rivera’s signing to a professional deal makes him the second youngest signing in Club history, behind Real Salt Lake Homegrown signee Axel Kei who was 14 years and 15 days in January of this year when he inked his Claret-and-Cobalt deal.
Rivera made his professional debut with the Monarchs as a substitute on March 27, 2022, against Tacoma Defiance, just three months after his 14th birthday. The next week Rivera earned his first start, helping Real Monarchs earn a 2-2 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps 2, the team’s first point of the season. In total, Rivera has made four appearances for the Monarchs, three of them starts.
The Texas-born defender has been instrumental in the success of the RSL Academy, most recently captaining the U-15 team on a run to the 2022 MLS NEXT Cup final. During that run Rivera buried a penalty kick against Philadelphia Union to help send his side into the MLS NEXT Cup Quarterfinals.
In addition to his performance at the MLS NEXT Cup, Rivera has helped the RSL Academy U-15 team advance to the Quarterfinals of the 2022 Generation Adidas Cup, play to an undefeated run through MLS NEXT Flex and MLS NEXT Fest, and earn the third-best record in the West Division during regular-season play. For his performance at the Generation Adidas Cup, Rivera was named to the 2022 Generation Adidas Cup Best XI by MLSsoccer.com, the only U15-aged defender to earn the honor and the youngest to appear on the entire list.
Additionally, this past week, he competed with the Academy in the Augsburg Whitsen Tournament, hosted by FC Augsburg.
At the international level, Rivera has been a mainstay with the U-15 United States Youth National Team and has been selected as a starter for the Stars and Stripes against both Belgium and Slovenia.
Real Monarchs are currently competing in the newly formed MLS NEXT Pro, with its next match at home set for Friday, August 26 at 7:00 p.m. MT at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah against Tacoma Defiance. The Club’s move to MLS NEXT Pro comes after seven seasons in the USL Championship, during which the team won the 2019 USL Championship Cup, the 2017 USL Regular Season Shield and the Western Conference Title in both 2017 and 2019, while also qualifying for the postseason in 2018.
Tickets for Real Monarchs can be purchased by calling 844.Real.Tix or visiting www.RSL.com/tickets.
TRANSACTION: Real Monarchs sign defender Luis Rivera to an MLS NEXT Pro professional contract on August 25, 2022
Name: Luis Rivera
Date of Birth: December 1, 2007
Birthplace: El Paso, Texas
Hometown: El Paso, Texas
Citizenship: United States
Last Club: Real Salt Lake Academy
How Acquired: Signed on August 25, 2022
Real Monarchs current roster as of 08/25/22
Goalkeepers: Fernando Delgado
Defenders: Bobby Pierre, Pierre Reedy, Golden Mafwenta, Aziz Kayondo, Omar Alba, Gennaro Nigro, Luis Rivera
Midfielders: Jack Imperato, Leo Torres, Pedro Fonseca, Tyrone Mondi, Christian Nydegger
Forwards: Terron Williams, Yekeson Subah