Cruz Transitions into Coaching Role After Successful Career in MLS, USL and NASL;
Brings Extensive Professional Experience to Defending USL Regular-Season Champions’ Staff
HERRIMAN, Utah (Friday, February 9, 2018) – Real Monarchs SLC announced today the promotion of former MF Danny Cruz to assistant coach of the club, effective immediately. Cruz will join reigning USL Coach of the Year Mark Briggs’ staff for the 2018 season as the club looks to defend its 2017 USL Regular-Season title.
“Danny owns a very intelligent soccer mind,” Monarchs Assistant General Manager Dan Egner said. “He’s been around the game professionally for a decade and has watched the sport in this country evolve, playing in MLS, USL, NASL and internationally in Scandinavia. He’s extremely enthusiastic and positive with a work ethic that’s second to none. We are excited for him to continue working with the younger players – now in this official capacity – and help them achieve their career goals.”
Arriving at the Utah club from the San Francisco Deltas of the NASL in August 2017, Cruz appeared in nine matches for the Monarchs in 2017, playing 617 minutes while making six starts.
“RSL is a club that I genuinely believe in and one that’s treated me with nothing but love and respect from the moment I arrived,” said Cruz, very grateful for the opportunities since arriving last Summer. “For me personally I now need to listen and learn from one of the most impressive staffs in American soccer. I also want to continue to show players in this club – from the first team to the Monarchs and including the Academy and our new NWSL team – what kind of work and commitment it takes to be a good professional. I want all of the players – young and old, male or female – to know they can come to me for whatever they need; chances are I’ve experienced something similar.”
Prior to signing with the Monarchs, Cruz, 28, logged 137 career Major League Soccer appearances, 99 of them in a starting role. The Virginia-born, California/Arizona native began his professional career with the Houston Dynamo in 2009 after being selected in the third round (41st overall) in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. He played three seasons with the Dynamo before moving to D.C. United for the 2012 season. He then played two years with the Philadelphia Union in 2013 and 2014, amassing 12 goals and 13 assists in his MLS career. During the 2015 season, he went on loan to FK Bodo/Glimt in Norway. In 2016, he played for Minnesota United FC in the NASL, remaining in the second division to kick off the 2017 campaign with the San Francisco Deltas after leaving Minnesota.
Cruz now joins a Real Monarchs coaching staff which includes former Real Salt Lake and New York Red Bulls defender Jamison Olave, who retired as a player following the 2016 MLS season and has spent the last year earning his coaching accreditations while assisting with the Monarchs. Goalkeeper Coach Matt Glaeser returns for his second season with the USL side, arriving in December, 2016, along with Briggs after serving as an assistant at Wilmington. Cruz replaces former Monarchs assistant Liam Miller, the former Manchester United and Celtic midfielder who joined the club a year ago but recently was forced to return to his native Ireland to continue his battle with pancreatic cancer.
The 2018 Real Monarchs season kicks off on Saturday, March 24, when they visit Tulsa Roughnecks FC one week before opening the club’s new 5,000-seat Zions Bank Stadium on the campus of the $78 million Zions Bank Real Academy in Herriman on Saturday, March 31 against Portland Timbers 2. Tickets to the match – as well as $99 season tickets for the 17-game USL regular season in Herriman – can be purchased by visiting www.RSL.com/Monarchs or by calling 844.Real.Tix.
The Monarchs return a familiar core of players from the 2017 Regular Season Championship squad as FW Chandler Hoffman, MFs Charlie Adams and Sebastian Velasquez return on the attack and DFs James Moberg and Michael Gallagher return to the back line. New additions to the side include former USL Cup champion Konrad Plewa and former Charleston Battery duo Justin Portillo and Maikel Chang, bringing USL experience to the squad to supplement valuable experience from former NASL Cup finalist David Diosa.
Starting at just $99 per seat, Monarchs fans can now experience all 17 home matches played by fan favorites Sebastian Velasquez, Chandler Hoffman, Charlie Adams and others, receiving a compelling benefit package. New to the Monarchs slate of ticket offerings is the ‘Family Time Four-Pack’ season ticket, which includes admission for two adults and two children at the world-class venue for just $249.
To reserve seats for the 2018 season, fans should visit RSL.com/Monarchs and make a $25 per seat deposit starting today to secure their place in the priority queue to select locations at Zions Bank Stadium.
On Saturday, February 24, fans are invited to take part in the first-ever “Select-a-Seat Day” at Zions Bank Stadium. Occurring from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., current and future fans can pick the exact seats they want inside the new stadium and take advantage of the opportunity to tour the Club’s new $78 million Zions Bank Real Academy. Current Monarchs season ticket members will have an exclusive priority window between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. to select their seats.
In addition to picking seats inside Zions Bank Stadium for the 2018 season, select Monarchs players and Head Coach and reigning USL Coach of the Year Mark Briggs will make a special appearance, greeting fans as they pick their seats inside the new stadium. Season ticket members will also have the opportunity to have their picture taken inside the Monarchs locker room and be able to watch the RSL Academy U-17 and U-19 teams take on FC Golden State at 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. MT.