SANDY, Utah (Monday, January 2, 2017) – Real Monarchs SLC brought a familiar face back to Rio Tinto Stadium on Monday with the signing of former Real Salt Lake MF Sebastian Velasquez, highlighting an announcement of three players who will join the Monarchs for the 2017 season. In addition, the third-year USL club signed former Portland Timbers DF Nick Besler and 19-year-old Ghanaian FW Charles Boateng, all pending league and federation approval.
“As we continue to build the Monarchs for the 2017 season, we see a lot of potential in the players we’ve added and these three players all add their own qualities to the style we are looking to play as an organization,” Real Salt Lake General Manager Craig Waibel said. “We saw bringing back Sebastian as a great opportunity to inject a known commodity with MLS experience who still has room to develop as a player and he fits a need in our midfield. Nick Besler has shown a lot of potential and has two years of professional experience and Charles Boateng is a good young prospect who we think can develop into a player who can make an impact on the wing.”
Velasquez, 25, was originally drafted by Real Salt Lake in the second round (36th overall) of the 2012 MLS SuperDraft and played his first three professional seasons with the Claret-and-Cobalt. He made 38 appearances, 15 of them in a starting role, for RSL over three seasons, notching one goal and five assists. In addition, he also scored one goal in five playoff appearances in helping RSL reach the MLS Cup final in 2013. Prior to the 2015 season he was traded to expansion-New York City FC, where he started in five of his 12 appearances with NYCFC and spent the 2016 season with Rayo OKC in the NASL.
A native of Colombia, Velasquez emigrated from Medellin to Greenville, South Carolina as a child. As a freshman in high school, he led Greenville High School to a state championship, the team also finishing the year ranked No. 1 in the nation by NSCAA. At the club level, he played alongside future RSL draft pick Enzo Martinez, winning a youth national championship in 2009. After traveling to Spain for trials with Espnayol and Barcelona, Velasquez then played at the junior college level for Spartanburg Methodist.
Besler (above), 23, was drafted by the Timbers in the first round (fifth overall) in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft and was with the club for two seasons, but did not make a first team appearance. A College Cup champion in 2013 with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, spent the last two seasons on loan to Portland Timbers 2 in the USL. With T2, he played 50 matches over two seasons, including 24 in 2016, when he scored his first professional goal against the Swope Park Rangers in the season opener on March 26.
Boateng, 19, comes to the Monarchs on loan from the West African Football Academy (WAFA). An attacking player, he is expected to spend the season developing on the wing.
Current Real Monarchs Roster
GK – Connor Sparrow
DF – Nick Besler, Andrew Brody, Max Lachowecki, Emilio Orozco
MF – Charlie Adams, Jesus Leal, Chase Minter, James Moberg, Sebastian Velasquez
FW – Charles Boateng, Daniel Haber, Chandler Hoffman, Amet Ramirez
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.
In 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.