The title of Real Salt Lake’s Most Valuable Player often goes to the player with the most goals, or the most flashy assists, but this year the honor has been bestowed upon Justen Glad, becoming just the third-ever defender to win the award and the first non-international since Kyle Beckerman in 2016.

Perhaps more notably, Glad is the first Homegrown Player in Club history to be selected by his fellow teammates as their Most Valuable Player. Glad represents a group of early Homegrown Players, signed as just the sixth ever Homegrown for the Claret-and-Cobalt on April 7, 2014, leading the way with a new path to the professionals.

In nine seasons with Real Salt Lake, Glad has led all Homegrowns with 183 games played and 15,940 minutes, while contributing to the team leading the league in Homegrown games and minutes played in four of the last five years.

This year Glad scored a career-high three goals, including the tantalizing equalizer under snowfall at New England Revolution, a game the team would go on to win 3-2 on the road. Glad’s second goal of the year came against CF Montreal, also an equalizer, which sparked a 2-1 comeback to earn three points on the road. His final goal was netted in the second minute of stoppage time, capping off 3-0 shutout against Houston Dynamo at America First Field. And despite missing several matches, Glad recorded a career-high in both shots (18) and shots on target (8).

On the defensive end, Glad’s importance became clearly evident when injures and yellow card accumulation saw him sidelined for eight matches, during which Real Salt Lake went 0-5-3, allowing 19 goals. Meaning, 42 percent of the goals scored against Real Salt Lake this season came when Glad was not on the field. Additionally, all ten of the team’s clean sheets were recorded with Glad at center back.

Additionally, Glad set career highs in passing completion (87.5%) and interceptions (52). And for his performances, Glad was awarded a spot on Major League Soccer’s Team of the Week twice.

And on the crux of his 10th season in Major League Soccer, and at only 25-years-old, he is just getting started.