Prior to the start of the 2021 Major League Soccer Season, Real Salt Lake announced the technical staff that will be working alongside the players and Head Coach Freddy Juarez for this year’s campaign.
New additions included Assistant Coaches Pablo Mastroeni and Matt Taylor, Director of Goalkeeper Ignacio “Nacho” Hernandez, and former player and Head Scout Luke Mulholland. Real Salt Lake also added Kurt Schmid as the team’s new Technical Director.
Real Salt Lake First Team Technical Staff:
· Head Coach Freddy Juarez is entering into his second full season at the helm of Real Salt Lake. The New Mexico native has been with the organization since 2010 and has served as the head coach for Real Monarchs in the USL Championship, as well as an assistant with the first team before being elevated to interim head coach on August 11, 2019. Juarez played professionally as a defender for both the El Paso Patriots (A-League/USL First Division) and the Minnesota Thunder (USL First Division) before making the turn towards coaching. Back in his home state he led numerous teams with the New Mexico Striker F.C. organization, he then moved to the Real Salt Lake Academy where he helped develop countless players, including current RSL defenders Aaron Herrera, Justen Glad, Erik Holt, Tate Schmitt and Andrew Brody.
· Assistant Coach Pablo Mastroeni joins RSL’s staff after one season as an assistant coach with Houston Dynamo FC. The five-time MLS All-Star played 16 seasons in Major League Soccer with the Miami Fusion, Colorado Rapids and LA Galaxy. During his playing career he spent 11 seasons with Colorado and captained the Rapids to the 2010 MLS Cup title. After retiring, Mastroeni took the reins as head coach of the Colorado Rapids. In 136 games at the helm, he held a 43-58-35 record and coached his squad to the club’s all-time best regular-season finish, earning a franchise-record 58 points in 2016, finishing second in the Western Conference at 15-6-13 and advancing to the Western Conference Finals.
· Assistant Coach Matt Taylor was among the top scorers in UCLA’s history with 33 goals and helped the Bruins win the NCAA National Championship as a junior in 2002. He was selected fourth overall in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft by the Kansas City Wizards and went on to score five goals in 54 matches for Kansas City and Chivas USA after a move to the LA club following the 2005 season. He also spent nine seasons in Germany, where he scored double-digit goals in four seasons. Taylor spent the last three seasons at UCLA and helped Milan Iloski explode to 17 goals in his junior season in 2019 before signing with Real Salt Lake.
· Director of Goalkeeping Ignacio “Nacho” Hernandez spent 15 seasons as a professional player in his native Mexico, suiting up for clubs like Atlante FC and Deportivo Toluca FC. Upon retiring, Hernandez continued a career in soccer as a coach. After plying his trade in the Premier Development League as well as the youth and collegiate levels, he had his first stint on the international level with Costa Rica from 2002-2003. He would go on to coach with El Salvador (2006-2007) and the U.S. National Team in 2013, winning the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. At the professional level, he coached under Sigi Schmid and Steve Sampson with the LA Galaxy from 2003-2005, winning the 2005 MLS Cup and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. At the college level he added UCLA to his resume before his most recent stint from 2015-2020 with Cal Poly. He also spent several years in the RSL Academy, during which they reached the USSDA Finals, winning in 2012.
· VP of Soccer Operations Rob Zarkos oversees and manages all operations for Real Salt Lake, Real Monarchs, and Real Salt Lake Soccer and Basketball Academies. Zarkos received his law degree from Willamette University and his Bachelor's in East Asian Studies from Western Washington University.
· Technical Director Kurt Schmid is in his first season with the club, having joined from Inter Miami where he worked as the Technical Director for the club’s inaugural season. Prior to that he served as the Director of Player Personnel and Scouting for LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders. Before working in Major League Soccer, he was an assistant coach at UC Irvine and Saint Mary’s College and was a defender at both Wake Forest and UCLA where he studied business and economics. The former defender recently earned his Master’s in Sports Management from Southern New Hampshire University.
· General Manager Elliot Fall has served in different capacities at Real Salt Lake since 2007. In November of 2014, Fall was named Assistant General Manager and held that position for five seasons before being promoted to General Manager. A graduate of the University of Utah and Salt Lake City’s Judge Memorial Catholic High School, Fall is a lifelong Salt Lake City resident. At 34 years old, he is the youngest General Manager in Major League Soccer.
· Assistant General Manager Tony Beltran joined the front office staff after a 12-year-career exclusively played with Real Salt Lake. During his tenure he appeared in nearly 250 matches and was part of the team to lift the club’s first and only MLS Cup in 2009. Since joining the business side of the organization, he penned the RSL Way, a comprehensive document laying out the club’s goals, standards, and way of conducting business on and off the pitch. Beltran attended UCLA for two years before electing to leave university early to turn professional and received his bachelor’s from Southern New Hampshire University.
· Director of Data Analytics Vahe Tanielian came on staff with RSL in 2016, leaving behind a lucrative career with Goldman Sachs to help start the club’s data and analytics department. Tanielian graduated from Westminster University with a Bachelor’s in Finance and International Business and a Master’s in Business Administration, he also possesses his certification in Applied Business Analytics.
· Head Scout Luke Mulholland became the second player to join the front office staff, joining the business side after a decade-long career in soccer, seven of which were spent with Real Salt Lake. The former player helped Real Monarchs win its first USL Championship trophy in 2019. Mulholland has his Bachelor’s in Sports Management from, Wingate University and his Master’s in Business Administration and Sports Management from Southern New Hampshire University.
· Director of Video Analysis Rob Rogers first joined the organization as an Academy coach in 2019, prior to that he spent three years as the Technical Programs Director with Surf Soccer Club in San Diego. At the collegiate level he has served as an assistant coach at both his alma maters, William Carey University and the University of Southern Mississippi. He then worked his way through the ranks with Mississippi Fuego in the WPSL, ultimately taking over as head coach in 2014. Rogers earned his Bachelor’s in Physical Education at William Carey and his Master’s in Coaching Education at Southern Mississippi.
· Elite Talent Director Cody Worden takes on his new role after two years with the RSL Academy in Utah during which he saw several players rise to the professional ranks, including Bode Davis, Jeff Dewsnup and Chris Garcia. Additionally, he is an assistant coach for Real Monarchs. Before coming to Utah Worden served for four years as the Academy and Boys Director of Coaching for the Surf Soccer Club in San Diego. He has coached at the collegiate level for University of Texas at Dallas, St. Mary’s College of California, UC-Riverside and the Dominican University of California. Additionally, he worked as a regional development center director for the San Jose Earthquakes Academy. Worden received his bachelor’s from the University of Dallas.
· Head Kit Man Randy Butts first joined Real Salt Lake as an athletic training intern and then moved into the equipment department as an assistant with the first team. He served as Real Monarch’s kit man before transitioning as the head kit man for the first team in 2019. Butts attended University of Utah where he received his bachelor’s in Athletic Training, to which he is still certified today.
· Assistant Equipment Manager Benjamin Chavez is entering into his third season under the RSL umbrella, having first served as the Real Monarchs equipment manager before joining Head Kit Man Randy Butts as his assistant with the first team. Chavez has operations experience with both the LA Galaxy and Orange County SC, as well as with the NFL Media. Chavez has his Bachelor’s in Kinesiology and Sports Psychology and his Master’s in Sports Management both from California State University - Long Beach.
· Director of Sports Medicine and Head Athletic Trainer Theron Enns possesses extensive experience in elite level sports, having worked as an Athletic Trainer for the Houston Dynamo, Colorado Rapids, U.S. Soccer, Winter X-Games, New York Jets and Villanova University. In January of 2018 he made the move to Real Salt Lake and has since led the Sports Medicine department that is responsible for the care of nearly 200 athletes with the MLS side, Real Monarchs, RSL Academy, RSL Basketball Academy and previously the Utah Royals FC. In 2020 his role expanded to include the testing and safety of countless individuals within the organization amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Enns has his Bachelor’s in Athletic Training from Point Loma Nazarene University and his Master’s in Athletic Training from Western Michigan University.
· Assistant Athletic Trainer Tyler Knight is beginning his seventh season with Real Salt Lake where he’s monitored the overall wellbeing and recovery of 1st team athletes, coordinated return to play on and off the field with special attention to movement as well as sport-specific activity, and created comprehensive individualized programs to boost both health and performance. Before joining the organization, he spent time as an Athletic Trainer for U.S. Soccer, Portland Timbers, University of Oregon, and University of Alabama. Knight got his bachelor’s from the University of Alabama where he double majored in Athletic Training and Health Sciences and a Master’s in Human Physiology from the University of Oregon.
· Assistant Athletic Trainer and Physical Therapist Jessika Volz has been with RSL since February of 2020, serving the entire organization as their lone physical therapist. Unlike her counterparts, Volz comes to the organization after an impressive career working with patients in hospitals and rehab centers. Volz has her Bachelor's in Athletic Training and Doctor of Physical Therapy from the University of Evansville.
· Head Massage Therapist Kristina Kearl began as an intern with RSL back in 2013 and continued on through the 2015 season in a part-time capacity during which she also worked as a massage therapist for Sage Leaf Spa and Neighborhood Acupuncture and Healing Arts. Prior to the start of the 2016 season, she was hired full time as the staff’s Lead Massage Therapist, for which she has continued doing, now entering into her sixth season. Kearl received her education from Utah College of Massage in both their Massage Therapy and Master Bodyworker programs.
· Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Ryan Cotter is in his fourth season under the RSL umbrella, having previously served as the Head of Performance for the RSL Academy. Prior to that he worked as the Strength and Conditioning Coach for New York Red Bulls. At the collegiate level he has worked at University of Maryland, Northern Arizona University, University of Georgia and University of Utah. While playing soccer at Hope College Cotter earned his Bachelor’s in Exercise Science, he then went on to University of Utah where he received his Master’s of Exercise Physiology.
· Rehab Strength and Conditioning Coach Tim Green is entering into his first season with the first team, having previously served as the Head of Athletic Performance for the Academy. Before joining the organization, he worked with the Richmond Football Club in his home country of Australia and before that at the Scotch College of Melbourne where he worked in both their Strength and Conditioning departments. Green received his Bachelor’s in Exercise Science from Australian Catholic University and his Master’s in Strength and Conditioning from Edith Cowan University.
· Sports Performance Dietitian Michelle Meinking has worked with the RSL athletes for three years, providing for all their nutrition needs. Her prior sport experience includes time with University of Utah, Green Bay Packers, Team USA Ski & Snowboard, Chicago Cubs, University of Wisconsin - La Crosse and University of Notre Dame. While working with University of Wisconsin - La Crosse she earned her Bachelor’s in Exercise and Sport Science and then her Master’s in Nutrition and Dietetics from University of Utah.
· LeadMental Performance Coach Riley Jensen began working with the team this year in an effort to help the athletes reach their full potential by using the five pillars of mental toughness (focus and concentration, confidence, control, images and relaxation, self-talk, and pre-performance routines). In the same capacity, he works with the Utah State University and the Weber State University athletic programs providing similar resources. Riley mentally tutors various individual athletes from the professional, Olympic, collegiate, and high school ranks. Jensen opened RJ Performance Group in late 2017. He has his bachelor’s from Utah State University, where he was the starting quarterback, and a Master’s Degree in Sport and Performance Psychology from the University of Utah.
· Assistant Mental Performance Coach Justine Jones began working with the team this year. In addition to the first team, Justine also works with Real Monarchs and Utah State University athletes. Justine also has experience working with USA Nordic and Team X Alpine, a professional downhill ski team. She is a decorated athlete and coach at Westminster College (soccer). Justine graduated in 2017 from the University of Utah with a Master’s Degree in Sport and Performance Psychology.
· Assistant Mental Performance Coach Jon Osborn began working with the team this year. He also works with the Real Monarchs, RSL Academy, Weber State University athletes, and Utah State University athletes. Jon graduated in 2017 from the University of Utah with a Master’s degree in Sport and Performance Psychology.