SANDY, Utah (Monday, November 14, 2016) – Real Monarchs SLC announced on Monday that the club has retained seven players from the 2016 season as the club embarks on the offseason for its third campaign in the USL in 2017. Goalkeeper Connor Sparrow; defenders Max Lachowecki and Emilio Orozco; midfielders Charlie Adams and Jesus Leal; and forwards Amet Ramirez and Andrew Brody are all slated to return after the Monarchs finished the 2016 season just outside of the playoff picture at 10-14-6 (36 points).
“We were pleased that we made progress in 2016, but know that we are capable of more,” Real Salt Lake General Manager Craig Waibel said. “In retaining these seven players, we have a strong core of young players with professional experience that we really feel like we can build around to further the progress of the on-field product and continue the ultimate goal of producing players who are ready to contribute at the first team level.”
Sparrow, 22, played in just two matches for the Monarchs in his first professional season, but got extensive work in training with both the Monarchs and Real Salt Lake. He was selected by RSL in the fourth round (65th overall) in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, but spent the season with the USL club while finishing his college degree.
Lachowecki, 24, was also selected by RSL in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, going in the second round, 25th overall. The left back was second on the club with 2,206 minutes played in his 26 appearances in his first professional season.
Orozco, 24, logged 22 appearances in 2016, matching his total from 2015. He tallied one goal on the season, netting the game-winner in a 1-0 victory over Swope Park Rangers on August 13 to kick off a three-game winning streak. The center back was called up to Real Salt Lake as a hardship call-up for the club’s match against Sporting Kansas City on April 2 – a 2-1 road win over the rivals at Children’s Mercy Park. A former U.S. U-20 and U-17 international, Orozco returns for his third season with the Monarchs.
Adams, 22, joined the team late in the season after previously playing for Louisville City in the USL. In just five matches, the English midfielder scored one goal and added one assist. Despite his youth, Adams has played five years as a pro since breaking through with Brentford in England in 2012.
Leal, 23, also brings a wealth of experience to the Monarchs after previously playing in his native Mexico. After playing in CONCACAF Champions League for Club America in his first season in 2013, Leal joined the Monarchs late in the season and played in four matches, totaling 287 minutes.
Ramirez, 23, was a third player that joined the Monarchs late in the season. The forward finished with one goal and one assist in 470 minutes over eight matches after previously playing with Plaza Amador in his native Panama, with whom he made his professional debut in 2012.
Brody, 21, is the lone product of Real Salt Lake’s Arizona-based Academy who was retained by the Monarchs. He had two goals and one assist in his rookie season, playing 1,455 minutes in 22 appearances. He joined Orozco as a hardship call-up for Real Salt Lake in the victory over Kansas City in April.
The 2017 USL season kicks off in April. Season Tickets for the Real Monarchs third season in 2017 are now on sale; please call 844.Real.Tix for more information.
Coming in late Summer, 2017, Real Salt Lake's regional training center opens in Herriman, Utah, approximately 20 minutes southeast of Rio Tinto Stadium.
The $50 million facility will serve as the daily training home beginning in 2018 for both of the club's professional teams - RSL (MLS) and Real Monarchs (USL) - while centralizing the club's U-18, U-16 and future U-14 development academy youth selections.
The Herriman facility will provide adjacencies for an on-site charter school opening in Fall, 2018, with STEM disciplines (Science/Technology/Engineering/Math) for nearly 300 boys and girls.
On Monday in North Logan, Utah, RSL Owner Dell Loy Hansen broke ground on the first of a half-dozen regional training centers across Utah and Arizona to be built in the next 2-3 years. Each $5 million RTC houses a classroom, as well as an indoor and outdoor field, dedicated to fulfilling a curriculum dedicated to the club's vision and mission for youth soccer training and education, and the continued development of both recreational and competitive pre-Academy (ages 7-12) initiatives across Utah and Arizona.