The Real Monarchs open the 2021 USL Championship regular season this weekend with an away match against San Antonio FC. There were a lot of changes to the roster this offseason and that means a lot of fresh faces at each position. Let’s take a look at each of those position groups and where the Monarchs stand before the opener.
Goalkeepers
Jimmy Slayton (22) – One of only three returning players from last season. Started in all 11 of his appearances in his first season with the Monarchs in 2020, posting a 2-7-2 record with one clean sheet and a 1.64 goals against average.
Defenders
Kyle Adams (24) – Spent the past three seasons with the Houston Dynamo FC organization and will bring outside USL Championship experience to the group with 61 appearances for Rio Grande Valley FC.
James Moberg (27) – The only returning defender from last season. The Monarchs longest-tenured player is coming off of a season in which he was named the team’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2020.  He has three goals and six assists in 91 USL Championship regular season appearances and appeared in three matches, including the final, in the Monarchs run to the 2019 USL Championship title.
Kevin Saucedo (21) – Spent 2020 with Colombian Categoria Primera A side Millonarios FC. Has represented Colombia at the U-20 international level and will bring a lot of height to the Monarchs back line in 2021.
Midfielders
Ibrahim Bancé (20) – The first Burkina Faso international to sign with the Monarchs. The exciting young attacker spent last season with Ivorian club ASEC Mimosas.
Julio Benitez (15) – The youngest-ever signing in club history will look to make a name for himself in the midfield for the Monarchs after excelling for the RSL Academy at the U-14 through U-17 levels.
Sam Brown (25) – The third and final returning player from last season. After being drafted by RSL in the first round of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft, the Harvard alum was voted Real Monarchs MVP in 2020 and will look to shore up the midfield as a constant this season.
Brayan Gomez (21) – Spent 2020 in Colombia playing for CDC Atletico Nacional, where he competed at the U-20 level before signing with the Monarchs in January.
Josimar Quintero (24) – Boasts an extensive resume that includes some of the largest clubs in Europe. The Ecuadorian spent 2020 with the RCD Espanyol organization following a transfer from Chelsea.
Forwards
Aris Briggs (24) – Selected in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft by RSL. The striker earned Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year honors in each of the past two seasons playing collegiately at Georgia State University.
Malik Johnson (23) – Brings extensive USL Championship experience to the Monarchs this season. The exciting winger spent the past two seasons with the Tampa Bay Rowdies after four seasons with Toronto FC II and has 12 goals and 14 assists in 106 appearances in the USL Championship.
Max Mata (20) – The first-ever signing from New Zealand for the Monarchs. The dynamic young forward arrives in the States from Switzerland where he spent time with the second tier of Grasshopper, scoring five goals in 10 appearances.
Juan Vidal (20) – Joins the Monarchs from CF Barranquilla of the Colombian Categoría Primera B. The young attacker will look to bring his creativity to the club in 2021.

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