HERRIMAN, Utah (Thursday, June 23, 2022) – Real Salt Lake has signed current Homegrown and former RSL Academy and Univ. of New Mexico standout Aaron Herrera to a contract extension, keeping him with the Claret & Cobalt through at least the 2024 Major League Soccer campaign, with a Club option for 2025 and 2026 seasons.
“I was just a 15-year-old from Las Cruces with a dream when I joined the RSL Academy in Casa Grande, Arizona back in 2012,” recalls Herrera, who signed with RSL in December, 2017 as the Club’s 14thHomegrown player. “The last five seasons here in Salt Lake have brought me so much, have helped me grow on and off the field, so I simply couldn’t be more excited to extend my career at Real Salt Lake.”
“Now being a part of what (Head Coach) Pablo Mastroeni, (General Manager) Elliot Fall and the new ownership is building here, on top of the great culture and foundation we have had from the Academy to the Monarchs to the first team, I am always grateful. Every time I get to go out and represent this badge and play in front of these incredible fans in Utah, our goal is to reward them and this community by winning trophies.”
Herrera, now 25, recently celebrated his 100th career MLS regular-season game on April 17 at Yankee Stadium, returning from a hamstring injury that marred his early 2022 season. Overall, the former New Mexico Lobo standout (2015-17) has now made 107MLS appearances (102 starts), scoring one goal and adding 16 assists in his RSL career, including 11 assists last year. Only fellow Homegrown DF Justen Glad reached the century mark before Herrera, and only Glad boasts more HG appearances.
“Hopefully we can get a trophy at some point, that is the main goal,” reminded Herrera, when pressed to talk about himself. “The individual things don’t really matter if you’re not winning any trophies as a team. The goal is to win a Supporters’ Shield, win an MLS Cup, win Leagues Cup, win CONCACAF; that’s what we are all aiming for.”
This season, Herrera has started eight of the Club’s 16 matches, primarily as a right back in a back four, although Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni did use Herrera as a right wingback and as a right centerback in a back three last year in a 3-5-2 setup.
“Aaron epitomizes what Real Salt Lake’s development paradigm represents,” stated Fall, who has been with RSL for the entirety of Herrera’s growth from the RSL Academy, through Aaron’s college career, and his quintet of MLS campaigns. “Aaron has been a standout MLS defender throughout his professional career, college, his youth international career as well. We are exceptionally proud of how he represents this Club, and we are elated that his presence here is secured for the foreseeable future.”