Weekly RSL Newsletter: November 28, 2017


Tues. – Sun., Nov. 28 - Dec. 3, 2017

SANDY, Utah (Tuesday, November 28, 2017) – The Real Salt Lake pyramid remains busy during the Claret-and-Cobalt offseason in preparation for 2018, as RSL and Real Monarchs SLC released its updated rosters while the NWSL side named its first-ever head coach. The Real Salt Lake Academy sides will take this week to prepare for the Winter Showcase in Florida this coming weekend as they look to continue its blistering start to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy season. The Zions Bank Real Academy in Herriman is entering the final stages of construction with turf currently being laid inside the indoor facility. Once completed, the indoor facility is scheduled to host its first matches on Dec. 9 when the Real Salt Lake Academy faces Strikers FC.

Real Salt Lake

There were two roster announcements on Monday as Real Salt Lake begins to shape the team for 2018.  First, the club announced that DF Demar Phillips has re-signed and will return for his fourth season with RSL.

Phillips originally signed prior to the 2015 season after the former Jamaican National Team defender played most of his career in Norway with Aalesund.  The 34-year-old left back has appeared in 60 matches in three seasons, 50 of them in a starting role.  In 2017, he started in 11 of his 13 matches, registering two assists to bring his career MLS total to seven after picking up five assists in 2016.

Next, the club exercised the contract options on four players from their 2017 roster, while 14 contracts were already guaranteed for the 2018 season, giving the club a roster that currently features 18 players under contract for next season.

The club picked up the options of defender David Horstand midfielders Luke MulhollandSunny and Sebastian Saucedo.  As previously announced, the club also exercised the purchase option on forward Jefferson Savarino.

The contracts of the following players were already guaranteed for the 2018 season: goalkeeper Connor Sparrow; defenders Marcelo SilvaTony BeltranJusten Glad, Phillips and Danilo Acosta; midfielders Albert RusnákNick Besler and Jose Hernandez; and forwards Yura MovsisyanJoao PlataLuis Silva and Jordan Allen.

Additionally, RSL announced that the club has declined the contract options of goalkeeper Matt VanOekel; defenders Chris SchulerReagan Dunk and Justin Schmidt; midfielderOmar Holness; and forwards Chad Barrett and Ricardo Velazco.  

Defender Chris Wingert, midfielder Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando are all out of contract entering the offseason. Finally, forward Brooks Lennon’s loan will expire at the end of the year and he will be out of contract with Real Salt Lake.

Major League Soccer announced several key off-season dates, including details of the 2017 MLS Expansion Draft as Los Angeles Football Club prepares for the club’s first season.  The important dates are as follows:

Dec. 10 – Half-Day Trade Window – Following a three-month roster freeze, MLS clubs may begin making adjustments to their rosters.  This is a four-hour window in which clubs may sign and trade players.

Dec. 12 – 2017 MLS Expansion Draft – While Generation adidas and off-budget Homegrown Players are automatically exempt, current MLS clubs may protect up to 11 players from selection in the Expansion Draft.  LAFC may select up to five players from the eligible MLS players pool.  Only a single player can be drafted from any one club.

Dec. 12 – Free Agency Begins – Out of contract and Option Decline players that were at least 28 years old during the 2017 season and have at least eight years of MLS service are eligible for Free Agency.

Dec. 13 – 2017 MLS Waiver Draft – Consisting of players who have been waived by clubs and do not meet minimum years of service requirements for Re-Entry Draft or Free Agency; the draft is conducted in reverse order of 2017 season finish, taking into account postseason performance, with expansion LAFC picking 23rd.

Dec. 15 – 2017 MLS Re-Entry Draft, Stage 1 – The Re-Entry Draft is conducted in reverse order of 2017 season finish, taking into account postseason performance, with expansion LAFC selecting last.  The list of players eligible for selection in the Re-Entry Draft will be released by MLS Communications on Dec. 14.

Dec. 21 – 2017 MLS Re-Entry Draft, Stage 2 – The list of players eligible for selection in the Re-Entry Draft, Stage 2 will be released by MLS Communications on Dec. 20.


On Monday Real Salt Lake General Manager Craig Waibel named two-time NWSL Coach of the Year Laura Harvey as the club’s inaugural head coach for the franchise’s entry into the league’s sixth season.

Harvey, 37, guided the Seattle Reign to the NWSL Final twice in the last five seasons, winning the NWSL Shield for the league’s top regular-season record in both 2014 and 2015.  Harvey, who departed the Reign in early November and was targeted for multiple international coaching opportunities, won the NWSL Coach of the Year award following both Shield-winning seasons.

During her five years with the Reign, Harvey held the league’s second-best all-time regular-season record at 51-33-26, earning 179 points over 110 matches.  Harvey – the lone head coach Seattle had ever known prior to her resignation earlier this month, on Nov. 7 – assumed the club’s General Manager duties midway through its inaugural 2013 season, a post she held concurrently throughout her Seattle reign.

That year, the Reign finished with the second-worst record, but rebounded the following year kick off the campaign with a 13-0-3 start en route to claiming the NWSL’s all-time best regular-season finish in 2014 with a 16-2-6 overall mark and 54 points (2.25 points per match).  That historic 2014 season also saw the Harvey-led Reign boast a share of the record for most wins in a season (16, tied with 2017 North Carolina), while featuring the league’s best all-time single-season goal differential (+30) and longest-ever unbeaten streak (16 games).

Real Monarchs

On Tuesday Real Monarchs SLC announced its updated roster ahead of the 2018 season as the club exercised the contract options on six players from its 2017 roster, with three players signing new deals while one player was already under contract ahead of the 2018 season.

The Monarchs picked up the options of forward Chandler Hoffman; midfielders Sebastian Velasquez, Karsten Hanlin and Juan Ignacio Mare; with defender Michael Gallagher and goalkeeper Andrew Putna’s contract options being exercised.

Midfielders Charlie Adams and Andrew Brody along with defender James Moberg have been signed to new contracts for the 2018 season. Midfielder Danny Cruz was already under contract for 2018.

Additionally, the Monarchs announced that the club has declined the contract options of defenders Kyle Curinga and Max Lachowecki; midfielders Diego Calvo, Daniel Haber, Chase Minter; and forward Skyler Milne. Defenders Emilio Orozco, Riggs Lennon and Taylor Peay are out of contract with the club.

After the announcement, the Monarchs roster stands at ten players.

Real Salt Lake Academy

The Real Salt Lake Academy sides used another bye-week with the Thanksgiving holiday to rest and prepare ahead of its upcoming trip to Florida for the Academy Winter Showcase.

The RSL Academy sides visited Real So. Cal. last week with both teams walking away with 2-0 victories. FW Ben Ortiz and Luis Arriaga scored a goal apiece to earn the full three points for the U-17s before MFs Jordan Pena and Zahir Vasquez each scored for the U-19s in Saturday’s win. GKs Tyler Kirberg and David Ochoa split time in goal for the U-17s to earn the shutout while U-19 GK Jacob Jackson played the full 90 minutes in goal to earn the shutout.

RSL then played matches against Arsenal FC on Sunday with the U-17s fighting to a 1-1 draw before the U-19s earned an emphatic 5-1 victory. MF Noah Beck notched his first goal of the season in the younger group’s draw. FW Sebastian Soto led the way with four goals in the U-19s match while MF Zahir Vasquez added another. Soto’s first-half hat trick – which took eight minutes from his first in the 25th minute to his third in the 33rd – solidified his fourth hat trick of the year and second game scoring four goals. Soto now has 17 goals on the season and is currently tied for the “Golden Boot” lead atop the USSDA scoring charts having only played eight matches.

Having now won seven consecutive matches for Head Coach Martin Vasquez, the U-19s move to 7-1-0 (21 points) on the season, outscoring opponents 40-2 while earning five shutouts in the active seven-match win streak.

The Academy sides will leave midweek for a trip to Lakewood Ranch Florida for a Winter Showcase tournament. The U-17s will pay Atlanta United on Dec. 1, Montreal Impact on Dec. 2 and BW Gottschee Academy on Dec. 4. The U-19s will play matches against the Philadelphia Union on Nov. 30, Montreal Impact on Dec. 1 and Oakwood Soccer Club on Dec. 3.

The next Academy games in the Salt Lake Valley will be Dec. 9 against Strikers FC at 11:00 a.m. for the U-17s and the U-19s at 1:30 p.m. The matches will be the first held at the Zions Bank Real Academy in Herriman. The full RSL Academy schedule can be viewed here: rsla.ussoccerda.com

Next Monday, RSL will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the grand opening of the Real Salt Lake’s Cache Valley Soccer Center. Located in North Logan, the first of a half-dozen satellite soccer centers to be built in the next three years, costing $6 million each, will open its doors on December 4 in a ceremony that will feature a ribbon-cutting and an open house, with the entire program running from 4-7 p.m.

The rest of the Real Salt Lake Academy schedule can be found at RSL.com/Academy as well as any other information regarding the Zions Bank Real Academy in Herriman. If you plan on attending a training session / game and requesting access, please contact RSL Media Services personnel Taran Meyer at (801) 657-2161 / tmeyer@rsl.com a day in advance for arrangements.

***The Zions Bank Real Academy Campus in Herriman - located at 14788 South Academy Parkway (3718 West) - MUST be entered off of Mountain View Corridor, just West of the Facility***