SANDY, Utah (Tuesday, February 26, 2019) – Real Salt Lake announced today the signing of MF Justin Portillo from the club’s USL Championship affiliate Real Monarchs SLC.
“Justin has been impressive in his time with the Monarchs and has earned the opportunity to sign a first team contract,” General Manager Craig Waibel said. “It’s a great credit to his own talent and hard work and it’s great as an organization to be able to reward that commitment.”
Portillo, 26, was voted Real Monarchs SLC Team MVP in 2018 after appearing in 32 matches while making 30 starts. Playing 2,697 minutes, he scored twice and assisted six times in his first year with the Monarchs. Prior to his arrival in Utah, Portillo earned USL All-League Second team honors for his performance during the 2017 regular season that saw him feature in 33 matches for the Charleston Battery, all of which were starts. He notched four goals and six assists in 2970 minutes in 2017. The New Orleans, Louisiana native played a total of three seasons with the Battery, totaling 88 matches played, 16 goals scored while adding 13 assists. Portillo concluded a collegiate career at Coastal Carolina as the all-time leader in matches played with 89 and matches started with 87.
In total, he has made 142 appearances in the USL Championship across the regular season and playoffs in his career – tied for fifth-most in the league since his debut for the Battery at the start of the 2014 season. He’s recorded 20 goals and 21 assists in that span.
“After proving himself with the Monarchs this past season, Justin proved to us that has the qualities and ability to compete at the MLS level,” RSL Head Coach Mike Petke said. “I’m happy for Justin as he’s earned this opportunity.”
Portillo becomes the eighth player to make the jump to RSL after first signing with the Monarchs, joining Emery Welshman, Chris Schuler, Ricardo Velazco, Connor Sparrow and current RSL members Nick Besler and Andrew Putna. In addition, current RSL Head Coach Mike Petke and Assistant Coach Freddy Juarez both earned promotions from the USL club.
“This is a dream come true,” Portillo said. “Ever since I was a little kid, watching the games on TV I wanted to be in the league. It’s an exciting time for me and my family. It’s something I think that I’m ready to challenge for. I can’t wait to keep going with the club.”
Name: Justin Portillo
Birthdate: 9/9/1992 (26 yo)
Hometown: New Orleans, LA
Birthplace: New Orleans, LA
Last Club: Real Monarchs SLC
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).
Transaction: Real Salt Lake signs midfielder Justin Portillo from Real Monarchs SLC.