SANDY, Utah (Saturday, December 31, 2016) – Real Salt Lake General Manager Craig Waibel announced on Saturday that the club has re-signed DF Aaron Maund, bringing the 2015 RSL Defensive Player of the Year back for a fifth season.
Maund, 26, played 20 matches in 2016 before a fractured foot cut his season short. The center back has played 51 regular season matches since coming to Real Salt Lake in a trade with Toronto FC before the 2013 season. He had a breakout season in 2015 when he earned a starting role and was in the XI for 21 matches for the Claret-and-Cobalt and was voted the club’s Defensive Player of the Year.
“We are very happy to secure Aaron and reward him with the new contract,” Waibel said. “With his development since joining the club, he has become an important part of our club and we are glad we will be able to keep him in an RSL uniform.”
Originally drafted by Toronto FC 12th overall in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft, Maund played 15 games in his rookie season before coming to RSL in a trade on December 3, 2012. The Notre Dame product has 64 appearances across all competitions for Real Salt Lake, scoring one goal in MLS play and another in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, both coming in 2015.
“I'm elated to extend my time here with RSL and excited to start the next chapter of my career in Salt Lake City,” Maund said. “The fans at Rio Tinto have been so supportive and that paired with a team that is trending upwards like we are I'm excited for all the success to come.”
RSL opens its 13th MLS campaign at home against reigning Eastern Conference Champions Toronto FC at 2:30 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday, March 4. The complete 2017 MLS regular-season schedule, along with the national television schedules for the U.S. and Canada, will be announced in January, prior to the 2017 SuperDraft presented by adidas (Fri., Jan. 13 in Los Angeles).
Season Tickets for Real Salt Lake's 2017 campaign at Rio Tinto Stadium are now on sale; please visit www.RSL.com/tickets/royalty or call 844.Real.Tix for more information. An overwhelming percentage of current Season Ticket Members have renewed prior to the early deadline, with several hundred STMs looking to upgrade locations and add seats for RSL's 13th year.
On Saturday, March 11, Real Salt Lake – which returns nine of 11 starters (including club icons Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando, as well as leading scorers Yura Movsisyan and Joao Plata) from 2016 and a core of 16 players for Head Coach Jeff Cassar after qualifying for the postseason for the eighth time in nine seasons – travels to Toyota Park in Chicago at 12:00 noon MT, visiting the Fire in that club’s home opener.
The March 4, 2017 date against Toronto will mark the club’s earliest non-CONCACAF Champions League opener in its 13 seasons. All-time, RSL is 5-0-7 in its previous 12 home-opening MLS matches, including a 4-0-4 mark at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, dating back to 2009. Only once before – on March 29, 2008 at Rice-Eccles Stadium – has RSL opened its MLS season with a contest on Utah soil.
RSL boasts an all-time 7-1-0 mark at home against Toronto FC, outscoring the “Reds” 19-8 and amassing seven consecutive victories since losing 1-2 on a late Collin Samuel penalty kick on July 4, 2007, at Rice-Eccles Stadium. In the clubs’ lone 2016 meeting, RSL dropped an 0-1 decision at remodeled BMO Field, as FW Toussaint Ricketts scored his first MLS goal for the 68’ game-winner.
The 2017 Real Monarchs / 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.
In mid-November 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.