HERRIMAN, UT (Thursday, January 20, 2022) – Real Salt Lake kicks off 2022 preseason with 39 players in camp, a total which includes 22 returning options from the roster that advanced to the Western Conference Final just six weeks ago. Several starters return from last year, including team MVP Damir Kreilach, homegrown rearguard members Justen Glad, Aaron Herrera, GK David Ochoa and Andrew Brody, midseason additions M/F Jonathan Menendez and FW Bobby Wood and international veterans DF Marcelo Silva and MF Pablo Ruiz.
As previously announced, veteran winger Justin Meram re-signed with Real Salt Lake during December’s MLS free agency period, with the Claret-and-Cobalt also signing MF Scott Caldwell, formerly of the New England Revolution. RSL’s 2021 Humanitarian of the Year, GK Zac MacMath, is back for his third Utah campaign, as are former Real Monarchs standouts DF Erik Holt, MF Nick Besler and M/F Mikael Chang
RSL FW Rubio Rubin – third amongst RSL’s 2021 goalscorers with eight goals and five assists in his debut season – will join the Club’s preseason festivities later in February due to recently conducted abductor surgery on the former U.S. international. Homegrown DF Zack Farnsworth will also miss time due to an arthroscopic procedure on his ankle.
2022 RSL PRESEASON SCHEDULE (ALL SUBJECT TO CHANGE)
NOW – Sat., January 22: Physicals / Fitness testing at Zions Bank Training Center
Mon., January 24 – Wed., February 2: Training in Tucson, Arizona
Sat., January 29: Match #1 against Grand Canyon University – 11a MT
Wed., February 2: Match #2 against Houston Dynamo FC – 11a MT
Fri., February 4 – Sat., February 12: Training at Zions Bank Training Center
Wed., February 9: Match #3 against Utah Valley University – 11a MT
Sun., February 13 – Sat., February 19: Training in Portland, Oregon
Sun., February 13 – Match #4 against Opponent TBD
Wed., February 16 – Match #5 against Opponent TBD
Sat., February 19 – Match #6 against Portland Timbers – 6p MT
Several non-roster invitees look to seize the opportunity to impress Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni and his staff – which now includes new assistant Brett Jacobs, in addition to Matt Taylor and “Nacho” Hernandez – ahead of the Club’s 2022 MLS season opener at Houston on February 27 and RSL’s Rio Tinto Stadium season debut on March 5 against Seattle. Many of the younger / less experienced players likely competing for time with the Real Monarchs’ debut season in MLS NEXT Pro this March, as Head Coach Jamison Olave evaluates options.
Veteran MLS defenders Edgar Castillo and Doneil Henry arrive with the most prominent reputations amongst the non-roster invitees. Castillo – the former U.S. National Team left back, and one of just three players to have appeared internationally for both the U.S. and Mexico with senior national teams – has appeared 66 times in the last four years for Colorado, New England, Atlanta and Cincinnati, following 19 seasons playing professionally in Mexico, appearing in 306 games for eight different teams.
Canadian international Henry arrives in Utah after spending the last two years in South Korea with the Suwon Samsung Bluewings, appearing in 41 games. In the decade prior to his Asian expedition, Henry appeared in 109 matches for MLS sides Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps, on either side of a three-year European stint with West Ham, Blackburn and Danish side AC Horsens. The TFC Academy product and Canadian U-20, U-23 and senior national team standout scored his first MLS goal at Rio Tinto Stadium, a 77th-minute equalizer for Toronto in an eventual 3-2 RSL win back in April, 2012.
FW Chris Garcia returns to RSL for 2022, following an abbreviated loan spell at Swedish second division side Ljungskile SK. Garcia, a former Monarchs player who impressed greatly last preseason, has fully recovered from the knee injury suffered last October. Also returning for 2022 is Tate Schmitt, the former RSL Academy / Monarchs player who spent most of last year on loan to Phoenix Rising FC (USL Championship).
Seventeen of the 39 names available during the upcoming Herriman, UT / Tucson, AZ / Portland, OR preseason stints are RSL Homegrown players, including 11 signed prior to the last four seasons (five announced last week) – GK Gavin Beavers, MF Julio Benitez, FW Axel Kei, DF Jaziel Orozco and MF Jude Wellings. Three of the Club’s Academy signees from 2021 are also in the mix, as MF Bode Davis, GK Jeff Dewsnup and DF Zack Farnsworth join 18-year old Monarchs veterans FW Yukeson Subah and MF Christian Nydegger.
Both of last week’s MLS SuperDraft selections have arrived in Utah, as Louisville standout Pedro Fonseca – one of three Cardinal members in camp – and Pitt DF Jasper Löeffelsend are present. 2021 draft pick MF Bret Halsey (Virginia) looks to build on his inaugural professional campaign after 19 Monarchs games a year ago. Other college-experienced invitees include Utah Valley University FW Evans Armah, Georgetown striker Derek Dodson, goalkeepers Jan Hoffelner (Kentucky) and Colin Shutler (Virginia), as well as Garrett McLaughlin (SMU) and Pierre Reedy (Penn State).
Twelve players from a year ago do not return for 2022, including MF Albert Rusnák (FA – signed with Seattle Sounders), FW Anderson Julio (loan expiration) and DF Toni Datkovic (trained Tuesday in Herriman, expected to sign with former Spanish club FC Cartagena following completion of mutual termination agreement).
2022 REAL SALT LAKE PRESEASON ROSTER (as of 18 JAN 2022)
(2022 additions in BLUE)
No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Birthdate Age Hometown College Status INTL
-- Evans Armah MID 5-8 168 01/09/1999 23 Accra, Ghana Utah Valley
35 Gavin Beavers GK 6-4 180 04/29/2005 16 Henderson, NV HG/MON
33 Julio Benitez MID 5-7 155 07/30/2005 16 Mesa, AZ HG/MON
13 Nick Besler MID 6-1 165 05/07/1993 28 Overland Park, KS Notre Dame MON
2 Andrew Brody DEF 5-10 135 05/03/1995 26 Orlando, FL Louisville HG/MON
12 Scott Caldwell MID 5-9 157 03/15/1991 30 Weymouth, MA Akron
-- Edgar Castillo DEF 5-6 151 10/08/1986 35 Las Cruces, NM USA
16 Maikel Chang MID 5-10 174 04/18/1991 30 Havana, Cuba MON
19 Bode Davis FWD 6-0 165 02/22/2002 19 Kaysville, UT HG
-- Derek Dodson FWD 6-0 175 11/03/1998 23 Aurora, IL Georgetown
24 Jeff Dewsnup GK 6-1 161 05/21/2004 17 Herriman, UT HG
32 Zack Farnsworth DEF 6-1 165 07/13/2002 19 Cedar Hills, UT HG
77 Pedro Fonseca FWD 5-8 165 05/20/1997 24 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Louisville
17 Chris Garcia FWD 5-7 141 01/13/2003 19 El Paso, TX HG/MON
15 Justen Glad DEF 6-1 160 02/28/1997 24 Tucson, AZ HG USA
27 Bret Halsey DEF 5-9 150 06/01/2000 21 Sterling, VA Virginia
-- Doneil Henry DEF 6-2 185 04/20/1993 28 Brampton, Ontario, Canada Int’l CAN
22 Aaron Herrera DEF 5-11 155 06/06/1997 24 Las Cruces, NM New Mexico HG USA
-- Jan Hoffelner GK 6-3 180 01/14/1998 24 Langen, Germany Kentucky
20 Erik Holt DEF 6-1 185 09/06/1996 25 San Diego, CA UCLA HG
31 Axel Kei FWD 6-4 183 12/30/2007 14 Abidjan, Ivory Coast Int’l HG
8 Damir Kreilach MID 6-1 174 04/16/1989 32 Vukovar, Croatia Int’l DP
-- Jasper Löeffelsend DEF 5-5 155 09/10/1997 24 Cologne, Germany Pittsburgh Int’l
18 Zac MacMath GK 6-2 190 08/07/1991 30 St. Petersburg, FL Maryland
-- Garrett McLaughlin FWD 6-0 178 11/10/1997 24 Oklahoma City, OK So. Methodist
10 Jonathan Menendez FWD 5-5 160 03/05/1994 27 Buenos Aires, Argentina Int’l TAM
9 Justin Meram FWD 6-1 165 12/04/1988 32 Shelby Township, MI Michigan IRAQ
-- Christian Nydegger MID 5-9 160 08/22/2003 18 Highland, UT HG/MON
1 David Ochoa GK 6-2 174 01/16/2001 20 Oxnard, CA HG MEX
99 Jaziel Orozco DEF 5-9 170 06/02/2004 17 El Paso, TX HG/MON MEX
-- Pierre Reedy MID 6-0 175 01/11/1998 24 Kutztown, PA Penn State
14 Rubio Rubin FWD 5-11 161 03/01/1996 25 Beaverton, OR USA
6 Pablo Ruiz MID 5-7 145 12/20/1998 23 Comodoro Rivadavia, Arg. Int’l
21 Tate Schmitt DEF 5-11 161 05/28/1997 24 Phoenix, AZ Louisville HG/MON
-- Colin Shutler GK 6-1 180 08/02/1998 23 Middlesburg, VA Virginia
30 Marcelo Silva DEF 6-2 181 03/21/1989 32 Fray Bentos, Uruguay Int’l
55 Yekeson Subah FWD 5-11 172 02/13/2004 18 Raleigh, NC HG/MON
38 Jude Wellings MID 5-9 160 04/26/2006 15 Birmingham, MI HG
7 Bobby Wood FWD 5-11 183 11/15/1992 29 Honolulu, HI USA
Head Coach: Pablo Mastroeni (Phoenix, AZ)EVP, Soccer Operations: Rob Zarkos (Seattle, WA)
Assistant Coach: Matt Taylor (Irvine, CA)General Manager: Elliot Fall (SLC, UT)
Assistant Coach: Brett Jacobs (St. Louis, MO)Assistant GM: Tony Beltran (Claremont, CA)
Goalkeeper Coach: Ignacio Hernandez (Veracruz, Mexico) Technical Director: Kurt Schmid (Torrance, CA)
Strength/Conditioning: Ryan Cotter (Grand Rapids, MI)Head Scout: Luke Mulholland (Preston, England)
Video Coordinator: Rob Rogers (Liverpool, England) Data Analysis: Vahe Tanielian (SLC, UT)
Equipment: Randy Butts (Sandy, UT), Ben Chavez (Long Beach, CA)
Team Administration: Chase Rusden (Glenmoore, PA), Christian Peters (Germansville, PA)
Athlete Health/Performance: Theron Enns, ATC (Chicago, IL) Chief Medical Officer: Dr. Chris Gee
Athletic Training: Jake Joachim (WA), Matt Murphy (Weston, WI), Jessica Volz (Mansfield, OH)
2022 RSL PRESEASON ROSTER FAST FACTS:
Total Players: 39 2021 Returnees: 22
Homegrown Players: 17
Colleges Represented: 17 (Louisville 3, Virginia 2, Utah Valley 1 + 11 others w/ 1 each)
Nationalities Represented: 12 (USA 23, Mexico 3, Argentina 2, Germany 2, Canada, Uruguay, Brazil, Croatia, Liberia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Iraq)
International Players: 10 – including dual-nationals FW Justin Meram, GK David Ochoa, DF Edgar Castillo, FW Axel Kei
Aged 30+: 7
Players w/ Utah Ties: 5 (DF Bode Davis, GK Jeff Dewsnup, DF Zack Farnsworth, MF Christian Nydegger, FW Evans Armah)
Injured Players: 2 (FW Rubio Rubin, DF Zack Farnsworth)
Returning Loanees: 2 (FW Chris Garcia, DF Tate Schmitt)
Youngest Player: Axel Kei (14 years, 22 days)Oldest Player: Edgar Castillo (35 years, 101 days)
Longest-tenured Player: Justen Glad (166 games)Leading Scorer: Damir Kreilach (42 goals, 23 assists)
2022 REAL SALT LAKE NUMERIC ROSTER AND PRONUNCIATION GUIDE
No. Player Pos. Pronunciation Place of Birth Last Club
1 David Ochoa GK oh – CHO - uh Oxnard, CA Real Monarchs (USL Champ.)
2 Andrew Brody DEF Orlando, FL Real Monarchs (USL Champ.)
6 Pablo Ruiz MID Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina San Luis (Chile)
7 Bobby Wood FWD Honolulu, HI Hamburger SV (Germany)
8 Damir Kreilach MID duh-MEER CRY-lock Vukovar, Croatia Union Berlin (Germany)
9 Justin Meram FWD MEER - umm Shelby Township, MI Atlanta United (MLS)
10 Jonathan Menendez FWD Buenos Aires, Argentina Club Atletico Independiente (ARG)
12 Scott Caldwell MID Weymouth, MA New England Revolution (MLS)
13 Nick Besler MID BEESE – lurr Overland Park, KS Real Monarchs (USL Champ.)
14 Rubio Rubin FWD roo - BEAN Beaverton, OR San Diego Loyal (USL Champ.)
15 Justen Glad DEF Tucson, AZ RSL-Arizona Academy U-18 (USSDA)
16 Maikel Chang MID MY - kell Havana, Cuba Real Monarchs (USL Champ.)
17 Chris Garcia FWD El Paso, TX Ljungskile SK (Swedish 2nd Div)
18 Zac MacMath GK St. Petersburg, FL Colorado Rapids (MLS)
19 Bode Davis FWD BOH - dee Kaysville, UT Real Monarchs (USL Champ.)
20 Erik Holt DEF San Diego, CA Real Monarchs (USL Champ.)
21 Tate Schmitt DEF Phoenix, AZ Phoenix Rising (USL Champ.)
22 Aaron Herrera DEF Las Cruces, NM RSL-Arizona Academy U-18 (USSDA)
24 Jeff Dewsnup GK DOO - snupp Herriman, UT Real Monarchs (USL Champ.)
27 Bret Halsey DEF HALL - see Sterling, VA Real Monarchs (USL Champ.)
30 Marcelo Silva DEF mar – SELL - oh Mercedes, Uruguay Real Zaragoza (Spain)
31 Axel Kei FWD AK - sel KAY San Diego, CA RSL Academy
32 Zack Farnsworth DEF Cedar Hills, UT RSL Academy
33 Julio Benitez MID WHO – lee - oh Mesa, AZ Real Monarchs (USL Champ.)
35 Gavin Beavers GK Henderson, NV Real Monarchs (USL Champ.)
38 Jude Wellings MID Birmingham, MI RSL Academy
55 Yekeson Subah FWD yuh–KAY-son SOO-bah Raleigh, NC Real Monarchs (USL Champ.)
77 Pedro Fonseca FWD fawn – SAY - kuh Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Louisville Univ. (NCAA)
99 Jaziel Orozco DEF hah – see – ELL Ciudad Juárez, Mexico Real Monarchs (USL Champ.)
-- Evans Armah MID ARR – muh Accra, Ghana Utah Valley Univ. (NCAA)
-- Edgar Castillo DEF kah - STEE - yo Las Cruces, NM FC Cincinnati (MLS)
-- Derek Dodson FWD Aurora, IL Orlando City (MLS)
-- Doneil Henry DEF duh - NEEL Brampton, Ontario, Canada Suwon Samsung (Korea K-League)
-- Jan Hoffelner GK YAWN HEFF-ull-nurr Langen, Germany Univ. of Kentucky (NCAA)
-- Jasper Löeffelsend DEF LEF – full – send Cologne, Germany Univ. of Pittsburgh (NCAA)
-- Garrett McLaughlin FWD Oklahoma City, OK Toronto FC II (USL Lg. One)
-- Christian Nydegger MID NYE – deg – urr Highland, UT Real Monarchs (USL Champ.)
-- Pierre Reedy MID Kutztown, PA Penn State Univ. (NCAA)
-- Colin Shutler GK Middleburg, VA North Texas SC (USL Lg. One.)
2022 REAL SALT LAKE STORYLINES TO WATCH
First Full Year Under Pablo Mastroeni
Following the team’s successful playoff run that saw RSL feature in the Western Conference Final, Mastroeni saw the interim tag removed from his title after 100 days at the helm to become the sixth head coach in Club history. Under his tenure in 2021, RSL went 8-8-1 during the regular season, advancing RSL into its 11th postseason in 14 years. In his first full season at the helm, Mastroeni will look to leverage the belief the team saw in latter half of 2021 and build a winning culture in Utah.
International Network of New Ownership
As the Club’s roster begins to take shape ahead of the earliest opening game in Club history (February 27 at Houston Dynamo FC), new ownership has provided General Manager Elliot Fall and Technical Director Kurt Schmid with a deeper and expanded network to potentially fill the RSL roster. Owner David Blitzer’s stake in multiple clubs across Europe (Crystal Palace – ENG; Augsburg – GER; Estoril – POR; ADO den Haag – NED; Alcorcón – SPN; Waasland – BEL) could provide the opportunity for RSL to acquire an array of players with international experience to bolster its roster. On the other hand, current RSL players could see the opportunity to join those teams in Europe to gain valuable experience similar to Andrew Brody and Pablo Ruiz’s Fall 2019 venture to Austria (FC Pinzgau Saalfelden) before returning to RSL and contributing significantly.
Since RSL moved into Rio Tinto Stadium in October, 2008, its fans have provided a dominant home-field advantage – a .771 winning percentage and 2.06 points per game – while helping the Club to the most aggregate MLS points earned during the regular season (409). Last season saw RSL set a new club record with seven consecutive wins at home en route to a 9-4-4 overall mark on Utah soil, solidifying its extreme advantage in Sandy and propelling the team to the top tier of MLS as a perennial postseason participant. RSL’s 11 playoff appearances in the last 14 seasons include five Conference Finals and 10 Conference Semifinal berths, second only to Seattle during this period.
In 2022, new ownership has committed itself to expanding the fan experience through all levels of the organization, its venues and its online presence. Fan support has always been at the center of everything the Club has done and with a new era of RSL beginning in 2022, the Club ensures itself to the fan experience to help maintain its home dominance.
As fans were reminded last season, anything can happen in the MLS Cup Playoffs, and one must always “#BELIEVE” in the Claret-and-Cobalt. Under then-interim boss Mastroeni, the team was galvanized at the end of the season to qualify for the playoffs in possibly the most dramatic fashion MLS has ever seen. From the “Damiracle” in Kansas City, a defensive masterclass in Seattle and come-from-behind drama in the return trip to KC, RSL’s cardiac collective led MLS is goals scored after the 80th minute and in stoppage-time as well. Momentum in the locker room, in the fanbase and around the country began to bloom ahead of the team’s postseason run, defying odds on and off the pitch amid the sense of self-belief RSL carried in the closing stages of 2021 is now a stated priority as Mastroeni’s culture-building re-engages to help the team kick off the season on the front foot.
Second-Year Players in Their First Full Seasons
RSL made a splash in the spring of 2021, announcing it had secured the services of Bobby Wood in a move that saw the former USMNT star join MLS for the first time in his career. Arriving during the summer, Wood featured in 17 matches and made 7 starts, scoring two goals. Wood will be looking to mesh with the rest of the squad through the upcoming preseason and make an impact for the season’s entirety.
On May 29, 2021, RSL announced the signing of winger Jonathan Menéndez to bolster the team’s attacking core. In 17 matches played, the versatile Argentine scored one goal and contributed five assists during his first season in MLS. Capable of creative and explosive plays, Menéndez looks to solidify his place within the team in a league in which quick, seamless adaptation has often proven difficult.
Homegrown Emergence and Pipeline Growth
Prior to the commencement of preseason, RSL announced five new additions to the roster, all Homegrown players from Real Monarchs and the RSL Academy. The Club has long prided itself on developing talent from within and has seen significant contributions from many of its Homegrown stars. What will the Club see in 2022 from its Homegrown players after it led the league again in minutes played by Homegrown players? Now with experienced Homegrowns such as David Ochoa, Justen Glad, Andrew Brody and Aaron Herrera, the core of the Homegrown pipeline can lead RSL to new heights following a 2021 season where 17 of the 32 players on the roster either developed through the Academy or Real Monarchs.
The RSL technical staff and front office sees a number of experienced “homegrown” individuals as well, with John Kimball, Rob Zarkos, Elliot Fall, Tony Beltran, Luke Mulholland, Jordan Allen and Jamison Olave each holding positions with the Club. These individuals – among many others – helped lead RSL through previous eras in other positions, now looking to build upon the successes of 2021.
ABOUT REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake kicks off its 18th Major League Soccer season this Spring, its first full season under Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni, who led the Utah side for the final 100 days last year, advancing to the 2021 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for the 11th time in the last 14 years.
During the first week of January, 2022, the RSL compendium of properties was acquired by global sports entrepreneur David Blitzer – who boasts interests in the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), the New Jersey Devils (NHL), and six European soccer entities, including Crystal Palace (England), FC Augburg (Germany), Estoril (Portugal), ADO Den Haag (Netherlands), Alcorcon (Spain) and Waasland-Beveren (Belgium). The new ownership group also includes Utah-based Smith Entertainment Group, which owns the Utah Jazz (NBA), led by Ryan Smith.
The club's MLS Cup 2009 victory marked the state of Utah's only major professional championship in nearly 40 years, the title preceding an historic run to the 2010/11 CONCACAF Champions League Final. Buoyed by a passionate base boasting several thousand season ticket holders, RSL has enjoyed a prominent home-field advantage – posting a dominant 145-43-46 (Win-Loss-Draw) record across all competitions at home (2.06 points per game for a 0.771 win pct.) – since building its permanent Rio Tinto Stadium home in Sandy 13 years ago.
In 2015, the club expanded its development pyramid with the addition of Real Monarchs SLC, one of several MLS-operated clubs playing in the USL Championship, the United States' Division II setup. The Monarchs boast a pair of titles in its brief history, as the 2017 USL regular-season champions, later winning the USL Final in 2019. For the 2022 season and beyond, Real Monarchs will compete in the newly launched “MLS NEXT Pro” as part of a joint United States and Canada endeavor to complete the professional player pathway by connecting youth academies in MLS NEXT to first teams in Major League Soccer.
The entire RSL pyramid, which includes the RSL Academy’s U-15 and U-17 teams, calls the expansive Zions Bank Training Center in Herriman, Utah their daily training home. With five world-class grass fields, two indoor turf fields, a residential dormitory, the STEM-based RSL Academy High School and the 5,000-seat Zions Bank Stadium located on a 42-acre campus, Utah’s sporting future is bright.
Added in 2020 was the elite RSL Academy basketball program, already earning accolades internationally for its vision, mission, and accomplishments.
The RSL Community Foundation was established in 2016, created with the goals of being active in the community year-round, utilizing the popularity and reach of RSL and the Monarchs in promoting health and wellness in children throughout the region, engaging supporters of soccer to raise funds and volunteer time for various local initiatives.
2022 RSL Full- and Half-Season Ticket Packages are now on sale
at www.RSL.com or by calling 844.Real.Tix.