Real Salt Lake’s Academy has long garnered national attention for its success on the field at the youth level and its ability to produce players at the professional and international levels. The list of players that fit that profile is long and continues to grow by the year, as evidenced by RSL having five players called in to the latest U.S. U-20 National Team camp ahead of the CONACACAF U-20 Championships and the FIFA U-20 World Cup in the coming months.
However, likely none of those players comes as highly regarded as 19-year-old forward Brooks Lennon.
Now, RSL will have a chance to put the 2015 graduate of the club’s Arizona-based academy on display in the Claret-and-Cobalt after bringing him in on loan from Liverpool.
“I’m really happy to be back for this year,” Lennon said after training with RSL in preseason training camp in Casa Grande, Arizona, last week. “I think it’s going to be a good year with a good group of guys. I’m excited and I think this group can go far.”
Signing with Liverpool came as the result of a long courtship after Lennon, who scored 35 goals with RSL’s U-18s in a record-setting season in 2014-15, trained with the Premier League club’s own youth setup periodically throughout his time with RSL’s academy.
After 18 months with The Reds, he returns to his roots with RSL, but has nothing but pride in his time at Anfield.
“It was a proud moment for me and my family that Liverpool was interested in me. It’s been like a dream come true for me and I’m really proud,” he said. “It’s a big club. I went there and had high expectations for myself. I knew I could do well there. I just went in and tried my best and did everything I can to try and make a name for myself and I think I did.”
A versatile attacker who can play across the front line, Lennon fits in nicely to RSL’s current formation and with a youth movement that now includes eight products of the club’s academy he falls in line to General Manager Craig Waibel’s plans to build his team to compete now while also developing young talent to keep the pipeline overflowing.
“I’m really excited. I think I can do really good things and help the team. I’ll do everything I can in practice and in games to try and help the team win,” Lennon said. “I’m ready to come in and step in and play a big role for the team.”
Lennon is currently with the U.S. U-20 National Team as it preps for the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championships, which serve as qualifiers for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in May and June.