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Andrew Brody, 2022 RSL Defensive Player of the Year

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Two years ago, Real Salt Lake defender Andrew Brody returned to Utah following a loan stint at Austrian third tier side FC Pinzgau Saalfelden. To say Brody was at a crossroads in his professional soccer career would be an understatement. At the age of 25, Brody was well on his way to becoming the Real Monarchs all time leader in appearances, but at this point in his career, he wanted more than the USL Championship. He wanted to prove he was Major League Soccer caliber.

Brody’s perseverance would reward him with a first team contract with the Club he had been a part of since he was 16-years-old. From driving for Uber during his off days at Monarchs to considering retirement, he now had a chance to prove what he could do.

Three minutes into his first team MLS debut in 2021 he assisted in a goal. He would go on to make 16 MLS appearances in 2021 in his debut season.

Flash forward to 2022, and he’s your Real Salt Lake Defender of the Year.

The rise of Andrew Brody is evident to anyone who watched the Claret-and-Cobalt this year.

Playing mostly as a left back, Brody helped shore up the fourth best defense in the MLS Western Conference, allowing only 45 goals in 34 games. He chipped in 46 tackles and 55 blocks while also being a threat on offense.

The crowd at America First Field became accustomed to watching Brody bomb up and down the left side, making incisive inside runs through the opponents defense or offering an overload behind the winger. Compared to all other MLS fullbacks in 2022, Brody was ranked in the 94th percentile in progressive carries according to Fbref, creating an omnipresent transition outlet for RSL to advance the ball.

Brody also scored his first ever goal for the Club, a stunning last minute winner against Austin FC that gave the Claret-and-Cobalt all three points, and sent the AFF crowd home with a memory they’ll certainly all remember.

He ended the season with six assists and two goals, impressive numbers for a fullback which helped land him in Extratime’s All-MLS fifth team.

During a season in which the Club was riddled with injury issues, Brody was a constant, starting 33 of a possible 34 MLS matches. This consistency was a key for providing some sort of continuity as he often played with an ever changing backline throughout the season.

During the 2022 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, he also was responsible for assisting in Sergio Cordova’s first goal which helped put RSL up early although they’d eventually come up short in penalties.

It was a special season for Brody off the field too. In May, he signed a contract extension that would keep him at RSL through the 2024 season with a club option for 2025.

“Brody has always been an incredible player,” said teammate Justen Glad. “It’s good to see he finally got what he deserves. Brody, he’s easy to support, he’s an incredible guy, and everyone just wants the best for him. He deserves everything and more.”

In 2022, Brody proved he wasn’t just a Major League Soccer caliber player, he proved he was among the best.