Sandy, Utah (Wednesday, September 16, 2015) – Real Salt Lake today announced that Martin Vasquez has signed a five-year contract extension to remain Head Coach and Director of Soccer Operations for the U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-16 and U-18 teams of the Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy. In addition to his roles with the burgeoning RSL-Arizona program.
“Our Academy has had success not just in winning games throughout the years, but also in developing players into professionals,” Real Salt Lake General Manager Craig Waibel said. “With those successes and with Martin’s long-term goals to not only keep producing talent but also growing the Academy, we are confident that it will be best-served under his watch.”
Vasquez originally signed on to the Director of Soccer Operations role in 2011 and has since served as an assistant coach under Jurgen Klinsmann with the U.S. National Team. The 51-year-old former Chivas USA Head Coach brings a wealth of international playing and coaching experience at the highest levels to his new post, having suited up in the national team colors of both the United States and Mexico in addition to spending several seasons with a handful of Mexican Primera Division and Major League Soccer clubs before embarking on his coaching career.
Born in Yahualica, Mexico, Vasquez moved at the age of 12 to the United States, where he became an All-American performer both at Alhambra (CA) High School and California State University–Los Angeles. Upon graduating, Vazquez began his professional playing days in both indoor and outdoor leagues in the USA between 1984 and 1987 before heading to Mexico to continue his career in the country’s first division, beginning with a three-year stint for Universidad de Guadalajara (1987-90). He also played for Puebla (1990-91) and Veracruz (1991-92) before moving on to his most successful stop, a four-year stay with Atlas, which he made over 100 appearances for from 1992-96.
Vasquez was allocated to the Tampa Bay Mutiny of Major League Soccer in the league’s inaugural season in 1996, and his outstanding play as a defensive midfielder earned him a spot in the MLS All-Star Game that season. He enjoyed two seasons in Tampa Bay and one final campaign with the San Jose Clash in 1998 before retiring from the playing field, wrapping up a 17-year professional career before shifting his focus to coaching.
After his playing days, Vasquez cut his coaching teeth for a handful of years at the high school, collegiate and WUSA levels before re-joining the ranks of MLS as an assistant on the sidelines of both tenants of The Home Depot Center – the Los Angeles Galaxy (2004) and Chivas USA (2005-08). Vasquez would then have the rare opportunity to expand his coaching horizons in Europe, joining Bayern Munich for its 2008-09 Bundesliga campaign under Klinsmann, who described Vasquez as “a constant driving force, with great passion and commitment to his players.” In December of 2009, Vasquez got the opportunity to return to Chivas USA, this time as the team’s head coach, a post which he manned for the squad’s 2010 season (8-18-4).
Vasquez joined the Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy in 2011 and has helped nurture the likes of Jordan Allen, Justen Glad and Sebastian Saucedo, who are among the 24 players from the Academy to sign professional contracts since 2011.