HERRIMAN, Utah (Fri., Dec. 1, 2023) – Real Salt Lake President John Kimball today announced that the Club has promoted veteran front office member Kurt Schmid to the role of Sporting Director, serving as RSL’s interim Chief Soccer Officer. During his nearly three years at RSL – with the Claret-and-Cobalt the lone Western Conference team to advance to the postseason in each season – Schmid has played an integral role in building the first-team roster, managing the salary cap and recruiting on-field, coaching and support staff talent to Utah.
Schmid’s vast domestic and international experience building scouting networks and negotiating with players, agents and teams allows him to continue to work closely with Assistant General Manager Tony Beltran - who will bear additional responsibilities - and Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni and others, with the trio guiding both short- and long-term futures across the Club pyramid, now comprised of Real Salt Lake (Major League Soccer), Utah Royals FC (National Women’s Soccer League), Real Monarchs SLC (MLS NEXT Pro), and the RSL Academy (MLS Next).
Schmid and the RSL front office oversee all day-to-day team operations, the Club’s expansive player personnel and scouting endeavors, all levels of player pathway development and methodology, and play key roles with both the sporting and business integration of RSL with Global Football Holdings properties overseas.
Kimball also announced that the Blitzer/Smith Ownership group will conduct a global General Manager search, effective immediately, while RSL and former General Manager Elliot Fall remain in discussions regarding his future with the Club.
Additionally, the Club announced that a trio of long-time assistant coaches – Matt Taylor, Brett Jacobs and Ignacio “Nacho” Hernandez – will not be renewed for the 2024 MLS season on the first-team staff. Schmid, Beltran and Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni have already begun the search process to fill those positions prior to both the December 19 MLS SuperDraft and the January 13 commencement of RSL’s 2024 preseason.
“First, I wish to express the utmost gratitude and appreciation for everything that Elliot accomplished during his 17 years with Real Salt Lake,” said Kimball, RSL’s first-ever employee upon its establishment in 2004, returning as Club President in September, 2020. “Elliot’s enthusiasm, positivity, eagerness to learn and his overall love of the game imbued each of his various posts over the years with innovation and success. His stewardship of the team during his five years as General Manager, steadily guiding us to the postseason despite change and volatility all around us, will never be forgotten.
“We also wish to acknowledge what Matt, Nacho and Brett have brought to our Club. Their collective years of blood, sweat and tears dedicated to RSL and our community will always be appreciated, and each individual should take great pride in their accomplishments here.
“Change is always difficult, but the growth and evolution of Real Salt Lake and all the teams that comprise our Club is necessary each and every day. As we enter our 20th season of existence, our ambitions demand a renewed approach as we pursue trophies and championships on the field, and seek to further deepen our connections off the pitch. I look forward to working more closely than ever with Kurt, Tony, Pablo and everyone involved as we take RSL and each of our teams to unprecedented heights.”
Schmid joined Real Salt Lake in February, 2021, serving as Technical Director following an MLS front office career that saw the former Wake Forest and UCLA player and college soccer assistant coach hold various player personnel and scouting posts in the Seattle Sounders, LA Galaxy and Inter Miami FC front offices.
During his time with RSL, Schmid has seen RSL advance to both the 2021 Western Conference Final and the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinal, while the Real Monarchs and RSL Academy sides have served critical roles in the Club’s youth development paradigm.
Beltran was a highly decorated player for RSL from 2008-19, winning MLS Cup 2009 and advancing to the CONCACAF Champions League Final in 2011, as well as the Open Cup and MLS Cup Finals in 2013. Beltran retired following the 2019 campaign after a lengthy injury recovery, moving into the Club’s front office ahead of the 2020 season. Beltran still ranks amongst the top five in RSL’s 19-year history in MLS games played (245, fourth), games started (230, third) and minutes played (20,652, third)
During the last four years, Beltran has been integral in establishing and fine-tuning the professionalization of numerous off-field endeavors at the Academy level, while utilizing his network to identify and hire coaches and support staff while coordinating and integrating the residential and academic needs for Academy players and their families into the Club.