For Aaron Herrera reaching his 100th regular season appearance has simultaneously been a long time coming, but also has happened in the blink of an eye.
Herrera first made his debut for the Claret-and-Cobalt as a late-game substitute on May 26, 2018, against Seattle Sounders. The young defender played one whole minute, coming on as time wasting substitute in the team’s 1-0 victory.
“My first appearance I was a little nervous. It was away at Seattle [Sounders], I think,” Herrera recalled. “I stepped on for like two minutes. I was nervous because we were up 1-0, and they subbed me in just to waste time. As soon as I got on the field, they kicked it, and the game was over, that’s really all there was to remember.”
It would be another two months before he would get playing time on the pitch for Real Salt Lake.
But after playing four total minutes through the first half of the season, an injury saw him move into a starting role, earning his first start on July 21, 2018, a 2-2 draw against one of the team’s greatest rivals, Colorado Rapids.
Since then he has become a staple of Real Salt lake’s backline, only missing nine games since becoming a starter. More impressively, of his 100 regular season appearances 95 of them have been starts, all within a five-year period.
“It has gone by crazy quick actually,” Herrera said. “I think this is year five now. I keep thinking it is year three, so I guess I can tell you how quickly it's gone by. It doesn’t seem like I have been here for four years already so it’s definitely flown by.”
Herrera quickly followed up by pointing out that is also feels like “It took forever to hit 100 [appearances]. You look at these other leagues, these guys are like 25-26 years old, and they’re pushing 300 appearances already. It takes a little longer here in this league. I don’t think we play as many games in a year, but I mean it’s a cool milestone to hit.”
Herrera is just the second Real Salt Lake Homegrown to reach the 100 regular season games as part of the Claret-and-Cobalt, joining fellow defender Justen Glad.
As for what’s next?
Win it all.
“Hopefully we can get a trophy at some point, that is the main goal. The individual things don’t really matter if you’re not winning any trophies as a team,” Herrera said. “So, I think the goal is to win a Supporter’s Shield, win an MLS Cup, that’s what we’re aiming for.”