Real Salt Lake defender, Aaron Herrera, made his 100th Major League Soccer appearance against New York City FC this Sunday. The New Mexico native rose through the ranks at the RSL Academy before playing three years at the University of New Mexico after which he was signed to a RSL Homegrown Player deal.
During his time in the academy, Herrera played with other current RSL players Justen Glad and Tate Schmitt who saw his development from the academy to the first team up close and personal. Hererra, Glad, and Schmitt reached the GA Cup final in 2014 and now regularly take the field together at Rio Tinto Stadium. Here’s what Justen and Tate had to say about Aaron’s development:
“It’s well deserved. Obviously he's an incredible player, but what I think separates him is his work rate. Ever since he was young, he just had that determination in him to make it, and it didn't stop once he made it to the pros, he still got that drive in him. I couldn’t be happier for him. His confidence has grown. He knows when he steps out there, he can make stuff happen. Last year I think he had 11 assists or so, and it’s just dope to see him go out every game and try and prove that he's one of, if not the best right back in the league. It’s awesome to see another Homegrown hit 100 appearances and I’m sure we’ve got more on the way.”
“It's incredible. You know, I remember the academy days when we were out at Casa Grande in Arizona, Aaron started off in the elite team, which was like the team underneath the academy team, and there was never a guy that we'd seen before that was so relentless in his work ethic. He was in the gym, on the field, always doing extra, and I think those attributes of his work ethic from the beginning of his career have just continued and it shows what that work ethic can do for a player long-term. Playing against him in training for the past three and a half years, I’ve been able to learn from his decision-making as well as his just aggressive demeanor to always want to win the ball back and be physical. But then also, you know, being smart and slowing down the game and, and his passing ability is pretty incredible. I've learned a lot from him. I actually went against him quite a few times when I was playing left mid the first couple of years, which made it probably a little tough on me going against an outstanding outside back like him. It's incredible the accomplishment of a hundred appearances in MLS.”