SANDY, Utah (Monday, October 23, 2017) - Real Salt Lake today announced the team’s annual season-ending award winners for 2017, which were based on voting by RSL players. MF Albert Rusnák was voted the club’s Most Valuable Player and the Golden Boot in his first season with the club. DF Justen Glad was voted Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight year, while DF Justin Schmidt earned Jordan Guernsey Humanitarian of the Year honors.
MF Albert Rusnák: RSL Most Valuable Player and Golden Boot Award
Albert Rusnák came to Real Salt Lake with high expectations and managed to exceed them on all counts. The 23-year-old balanced a busy schedule that included 30 appearances with Real Salt Lake – 29 in a starting role – along with the Slovakian National Team and the Slovakian U-21 National Team. While navigating that schedule from continent-to-continent he led the club with seven goals and 13 assists in his first season with RSL.
Rusnák is the eighth different RSL player to earn the club’s MVP honors. He is also the eighth different player to earn the Golden Boot. Though four players – Rusnák, Joao Plata, Yura Movsisyan and Luis Silva - tied for the team lead with seven goals, Rusnák’s 13 assists earned him the Golden Boot.
DF Justen Glad: RSL Defensive Player of the Year
In his third full season in MLS, Glad continued his progression as a rising young star for RSL’s back four. After returning from international duty at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea, he established himself as a stalwart starter in Head Coach Mike Petke’s defense. The Real Salt Lake Academy product started in 18 consecutive matches to close out the season, with RSL going 9-5-4 with 20 goals allowed.
Glad is the third different RSL player to earn the Defensive Player of the Year honors in back-to-back seasons, joining Nat Borchers (2010-2011) and Nick Rimando (2012-2013). He is among eighth different players to take home the honor, with Borchers leading the way, taking the award three times in his seven seasons with the club.
DF Justin Schmidt: Jordan Guernsey Humanitarian of the Year
2017 was another very active year for Real Salt Lake in the community and Justin Schmidt carried the torch for the club in many instances. In his first MLS season, the University of Washington product was regularly in attendance at training sessions for the RSL Unified Team, giving his time to these athletes by training with them, and cheering them on at games – where he served as honorary trainer. In addition, he worked with Shriners Hospital and attended their community events and raised funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters Utah.
In 2015, the club announced that the Humanitarian of the Year Award would be named in honor of one of Real Salt Lake’s biggest fans, the late Jordan Guernsey, whose passion for work in the community embodied the spirit of the award.
Real Salt Lake All-Time Season-Ending Award Recipients
RSL Most Valuable Player: Albert Rusnák (2017), Kyle Beckerman (2016), Javier Morales (2015), Joao Plata (2014), Kyle Beckerman (2013), Kyle Beckerman (2012), Kyle Beckerman (2011), Javier Morales (2010), Nat Borchers (2009), Javier Morales (2008), Nick Rimando (2007), Jeff Cunningham (2006), Andy Williams (2005)
RSL Golden Boot Award: Albert Rusnák (2017), Joao Plata (2016), Javier Morales (2015), Joao Plata (2014), Álvaro Saborío (2013), Álvaro Saborío (2012), Álvaro Saborío (2011), Álvaro Saborío (2010), Robbie Findley (2009), Yura Movsisyan (2008), Robbie Findley (2007), Jeff Cunningham (2006), Jason Kreis (2005)
RSL Defensive Player of the Year: Justen Glad (2017), Justen Glad (2016), Aaron Maund (2015), Chris Schuler (2014), Nick Rimando (2013), Nick Rimando (2012), Nat Borchers (2011), Nat Borchers (2010), Jamison Olave (2009), Nat Borchers (2008), Eddie Pope (2007), Carey Talley (2006), Eddie Pope (2005)
Jordan Guernsey Humanitarian of the Year: Justin Schmidt (2017), Jordan Allen and Justen Glad (2016), Abdoulie Mansally (2015), Abdoulie Mansally (2014), Chris Wingert (2013), Will Johnson (2012), Jean Alexandre (2011), Jean Alexandre (2010), Robbie Russell (2009), Nat Borchers (2008), Carey Talley (2007), Seth Trembly (2006), Brian Kamler (2005)