SANDY, Utah (Thursday, January 3, 2019) – Real Salt Lake have signed MF/FW Tate Schmitt and DF Erik Holt as the club’s 20th and 21st Homegrown signings, General Manager Craig Waibel announced today. Both players will join the club’s roster for the 2019 season with RSL’s roster now at 26 players.
“We know that Tate and Erik are players that would be first round selections if they entered the draft. Having the ability to sign both as RSL Academy graduates is another step in following our youth development philosophy while giving both the ability to develop into first team players over time,” Waibel said. “They both had remarkable college careers and we are excited about what the future holds for them here at the club.”
Schmitt, 21, played his junior and senior seasons with the Real Salt Lake Academy (AZ) where he helped RSL to U-17/18 national runner-up finishes in 2014 and 2015. In his freshman season at Louisville, the Phoenix, Arizona native led the team with seven goals before moving on to score at least five goals in each of his remaining three years as a Cardinal. In 2018 Schmitt notched five goals in 19 appearances for Louisville.
Schmitt was an All-ACC First Team honoree in 2018 while also earning United Soccer Coaches All-South Region First Team recognition. The 2018 ACC Championship Tournament MVP, Schmitt capped his collegiate career ranked fourth in school history in career points with 69 and sixth in career goals with 26. He was a two-time All-ACC honoree and an ACC All-Freshman Team member during his career where he notched 11 game-winning goals in his four seasons with the Cardinals, including four in the NCAA Championship Tournament.
“I’m very excited to have signed my first professional contract with Real Salt Lake and it’s a very proud moment for myself and my family,” Schmitt said. “I’m very fortunate that I came into the RSL organization as a 16-year-old and developed the foundation to learn and grow as a young player at a high level. To be able to build relationships with some of the guys currently playing with RSL at the Academy really inspired me and motivated me to reach the professional game.”
Holt, 22, competed for the RSL Academy (AZ) where he helped RSL in earning the nation’s best record in 2015. Considered one of the nation’s top recruits, he spent four years at the University of California Los Angeles where he appeared in 71 matches, 61 of which were starts. An imposing centerback, Holt scored a single goal in his time with the Bruins and assisted on five occasions. The San Diego, California native was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team his junior (’17) and senior (’18) seasons after leading the Bruins to the NCAA tournament in three out of his four years spent in Westwood.
Holt has previously spent time with the U.S. Under-17 National Team and has received call-ups to Real Salt Lake for MLS Reserve matches.
“It’s been a really exciting experience to be able to fulfill the dream of becoming a professional soccer player,” Holt said. “I started with RSL in Casa Grande, Arizona and it’s been an incredible experience to be able to play at one of the best academies in the country then move onto UCLA. Now to be back with RSL at the professional level is incredible. I can’t wait to get started.”
RSL had the most minutes played by Homegrown players in Major League Soccer in 2018, with RSL Academy products logging 10,826 regular season minutes.
With the addition of Schmitt and Holt, the growing list of RSL Academy products on the current roster now stands at 12 along with GK David Ochoa, DF Justen Glad, DF Aaron Herrera, DF Brooks Lennon, FW Sebastian Saucedo, DF Donny Toia, FW Luis Arriaga, FW Corey Baird, FW Jordan Allen, and FW Julian Vazquez. Other former Homegrown signings include Nico Muniz, Lalo Fernandez, Jose Hernandez, Benji Lopez, Phanuel Kavita, Fito Ovalle, Ricardo Velazco and Danilo Acosta, who is currently on loan for the 2019 season to Orlando City SC.
Real Salt Lake opens the 2019 MLS regular season on March 2 on the road against the Houston Dynamo before returning for the home opener on March 9 against Vancouver Whitecaps FC. 2019 Real Salt Lake season tickets are available now at RSL.com/Tickets or by calling 844-REAL-TIX (844-732-5849).
Name: Tate Schmitt
Weight: 161 lbs
Born: 5/28/1997 (21 yo)
Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona
Last Club: Louisville Cardinals
Name: Erik Holt
Weight: 185 lbs
Born: 9/6/1996 (22 yo)
Hometown: San Diego, California
Last Club: UCLA Bruins
Transaction: Real Salt Lake signs Erik Holt and Tate Schmitt to Homegrown contracts on January 3, 2019.