SANDY, Utah (Wednesday, December 20, 2017) – Real Salt Lake General Manager Craig Waibel today announced that the club has acquired FW Brooks Lennon on a permanent basis from England’s Liverpool F.C. The Real Salt Lake Academy product spent the 2017 season on loan to Major League Soccer’s Utah side from the Premier League club, now signing a new contract with RSL.
“Lennon is another key player in what we believe to be one of the youngest and most exciting attacking groups in the league, and Brooks adds depth to the choices the coaching staff possess each day as he can fill multiple roles within the front four and play them all very well,” said Waibel, noting that all five RSL Academy players from this year’s CONCACAF Champion and FIFA U-20 quarterfinalist USA team will wear Claret-and-Cobalt together in 2018. “Brooks took a different route than most, from Arizona to England and back to Utah – and he’s now come back to our Club and found success here on the field, and we expect even bigger things in 2018. This is a big milestone for our Academy as we continue to develop our own, and to welcome Brooks home full-time is phenomenal.”
Lennon, 20, scored three goals and added four assists in 25 appearances in his first MLS season, making 15 starts for Real Salt Lake. His first MLS goal came on a late game-winner in a 2-1 road win over Rocky Mountain Cup rival Colorado Rapids on April 15. The Paradise Valley, Arizona native later added scores in one-goal, one-assist performances at Rio Tinto Stadium against the Rapids on August 26 and Sporting Kansas City on October 22.
During the 2017 campaign, Lennon also made 11 appearances – all in a starting role – for the U.S. U-20 National Team, scoring six goals and adding three assists to lead the group in its run to a first-ever CONCACAF Championship, as well as a quarterfinal appearance in the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea.
“I’m ecstatic, I knew I wanted to stay at Real Salt Lake,” said Lennon, one of the five RSL Academy players to have comprised nearly 25 percent of U.S. U-20 roster for Head Coach Tab Ramos in 2017. “Under the leadership of Mike Petke I thought I made huge strides in my development and I matured as a player on and off the field. It was a no-brainer for me to re-sign and I know that we have the quality to compete for hardware and I’m excited to do that with a group of players that I grew up playing with.”
An attacker who can play any position along the front line, Lennon joins DF Danilo Acosta, D/F Jordan Allen, DF Justen Glad, MF Jose Hernandez, DF Aaron Herrera and M/F Sebastian “Bofo” Saucedo among the seven homegrown products who once played for RSL assistant Freddy Juarez and Academy Director Martin Vasquez as youth players who have now matriculated to the first team. Lennon, along with Acosta, Glad, Herrera and Saucedo, captured the CONCACAF title for the United States and advanced to the final eight in South Korea in the most recent FIFA U-20 World Championships.
In 2017, Real Salt Lake’s homegrown talent accounted for 18.6% of the total minutes played by RSL field players in 2017, logging 5,656 minutes last season, the third-most amongst homegrown field players in MLS (trailing the New York Red Bulls’ 7,810 minutes, and the LA Galaxy at 5,726).
Prior to this February’s return to Real Salt Lake on loan, Lennon moved across the pond to Liverpool 18 months ago following a standout campaign with the RSL U-18 Academy side, for whom the dynamic wing player scored 31 goals to help lead the Arizona-based Academy team to the USSDA championship match in 2014-15. While in England, Lennon played primarily with the Premier League club’s U-23 group before returning stateside on loan to RSL.
Tuesday, Real Salt Lake announced its 2018 regular-season home opener, kicking off its 14th MLS season by hosting expansion LAFC on Saturday, March 10 at Rio Tinto Stadium (1:30 p.m. MT kick). The Club’s 2018 debut is slated for Saturday, March 3 at FC Dallas (time TBD), with the full 34-game schedule announced in January.
The Utah side’s Rio Tinto Stadium venue continues to provide a distinct home-field advantage for Real Salt Lake, with RSL running its all-time MLS regular-season record to 87-21-43 since opening the world-class Sandy home on October 9, 2008. During its previous 13 MLS home openers, RSL is 5-0-8 all-time, with a 4-0-5 record in Rio Tinto Stadium home openers.
Real Salt Lake finished the 2017 season as one of the hottest teams in MLS, boasting an 8-3-4 record over the final 15 matches of the season after an emphatic 6-2 road win over the LA Galaxy on July 4. With a mix of youth phenoms and savvy veterans, RSL was among the more exciting teams over the final half of the season and sets up for a dynamic squad kicking off its first full season under Head Coach Mike Petke in 2018.
Season tickets for the 2018 season are now on sale via www.RSL.com or 844.Real.Tix, while the March 10 home opener and the remainder of the Club’s individual game tickets will be available soon following January’s 2018 schedule release.