Andrew Brody’s journey from the Real Salt Lake Academy to his first contract extension with the RSL first team was anything but linear.
A testament to the Orlando, Florida native’s resolve, Brody went from considering retirement with Real Monarchs to appearing in every match so far this season for Real Salt Lake and securing his long term future with the Club.
“The biggest thing for me is, this is a Club I've been a part of since I was 16-years-old at the academy,” said Brody. “My dream when I first joined at 16 was always to play for the first team, so to be able to extend my stay, it's just a dream come true. This is the Club I want to be at, the Club I want to move forward with, and hopefully win silverware with.”
While the path Brody took to get to this point probably wasn’t how his 16-year-old self envisioned, it helped build the strong mentality that’s helped him thrive today.
“That’s definitely from my parents,” said Brody. They were the ones who told me to never give up. I know it's a bit cliche, but they said to always just keep my head down and keep working and that it’s all about what you put in. That hard work stems from them. When I had those difficult times, they always believed in me and told me to keep going.
After finishing up his time with the RSL Academy, Brody decided to go the college route and played for 3 years at the University of Louisville, being named in the TopDrawerSoccer Freshman XI his first year.
Following his time at Louisville, Brody would eventually sign a contract with Real Monarchs where he’d go on to become the Club’s all time appearance leader (101) and gain invaluable playing time.
However, as the years went on and he saw younger players earn first team contracts, doubt started to set in. In his last year with Monarchs, Brody started to think about what comes next.
“I was driving for Uber on the side at the time and I thought that, at that point, I’m 25-years-old still on the Monarchs, I have to start thinking about my future and make a decision,” said Brody.
Then an opportunity presented itself in the form of a six month loan to FC Pinzgau Saalfield in the Austrian Third Division.
“The experience in Austria kind of just let me see the game in a new light almost,” said Brody.
It helped me find my confidence and love for the game that I had previously lost a little bit with the Monarchs after so many years. It helped me find that love and passion for the game that I had when I first joined the Club at 16.”
Brody, who was also joined in Austria by RSL teammate Pablo Ruiz, was reinvigorated from his successful spell with FCPS and returned to Utah with not only confidence, but also a first team contract.
“Coming back and having the opportunity with the first team, it was like, all right, I can’t get complacent in that moment and think that I've made it just because I signed for the first team. I have to think, okay, now how can I be a starter on this team? How can I help this team continue to grow and help myself become a better player?”
After a somewhat slow start to his professional career, Brody returned to RSL and made an instant impact on the field, assisting in a goal three minutes into his debut with the first team.
Brody would go on to make 16 appearances during the 2021 season, including an important assist to Anderson Julio in the 2021 conference semifinals against Sporting Kansas City which helped RSL reach the Western Conference Finals.
Now in 2022, Brody has appeared in all 10 of RSL’s matches, taking the field with teammates Justen Glad, Tate Schmitt and Aaron Herrera who’ve been with him since the beginning in the RSL Academy.
“Aaron, Justin and Tate, those are some of my closest buddies in life, let alone this team,” said Brody. “They always had belief in me, and gave me their support. Them being guys that had been playing so many years for the first team and telling me that I was good enough, it meant a lot.
And as rewarding as it has been for Brody to see his career flourish, it’s also meant a lot to his teammates. While also playing together since their academy days, Glad, Schmitt and Hererra also lived with Brody and saw his journey up close, on and off the field.
“Brody has always been an incredible player,” said 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.”
“I think one of the things that made him who he is today is the adversity he faced when things didn’t go the way they maybe should have at the beginning,” said Schmitt. “I think that creates this grit in a player to always want to show people that you're worth more than what they might have thought.”
Proving his worth is something that Brody did time and time again throughout his career, and it became impossible for the Real Salt Lake Front Office not to notice. From finally earning his first RSL contract to now earning this contract extension.
“Andrew Brody is a kid who's been in the RSL system for a long time. He's worked his way up and he’s had to work hard for everything he's gotten,” said Real Salt Lake General Manager Elliot Fall.
“He's established himself as a key contributor for this roster, both short-term and long-term, so we couldn't be more happy to have him a part of the Club for several years to come.”
From bright eyed 16-year-old RSL Academy product to part of the foundation of the first team back line, the beauty was in the journey for Brody..
“It's a bit surreal. I never thought that I'd be here in this moment three years ago when I was kind of contemplating retirement,” said Brody. “Looking back on it, I probably wouldn't change anything because those struggles and hard times made me the player that I am today and helped me find that resilience. I wouldn't change the path at all. Even though I was frustrated at times, I think it all happened for a reason. I couldn't be happier where I'm at today.”