The RSL Academy heads into the weekend with plenty to play for as both the U-17s and U-19s get set to take on Crossfire Premier on Saturday at Zions Banks Real Academy.
The U-17s enter the weekend led by top goal scorer Paul Paul Gindiri who currently has 10 goals to his name thus far in the 2018-19 season. With those 10 goals this season, Gindiri sits fourth on the U.S.S.D.A. goal-scoring chart, just two goals off the overall lead in the West. U-17 midfielder Bode Davis has supplemented Gindiri’s goal-scoring prowess with eight goals to his name on the year.
The team currently sits firmly in fourth place in the U.S.S.D.A. Southwest Division standings, occupying the wildcard spot with the playoffs quickly approaching. With a win over Crossfire Premier on Saturday, the Academy will generate a gap between itself and the fifth place FC Golden State with three regular season matches to play after the Generation adidas Cup in April.
GA Cup for the U-17s will run from April 13-20 in Frisco, Texas where RSL will face other Major League Soccer Academies in the tournament’s top flight, the Championship Division.
The RSL Academy U-19s head into its match against Crossfire Premier led by forward Ben Ortiz and midfielder and current Real Salt Lake first team member Luis Arriaga who both have nine goals this season. Members of the U-19 side have had the opportunity throughout the 2019 preseason and regular season to feature for the club’s USL Championship affiliate Real Monarchs, namely goalkeeper David Ochoa. The 18-year-old goalkeeper and Academy eligible member currently leads the USL Championship in clean sheets (2) and sits second in the league with saves (16) through three weeks.
The Academy’s older contingent has cemented itself in second place in the U.S.S.D.A. Southwest Division with a 11-3-5 (38 points) record through 19 matches played. The only thing holding the team back from sitting atop the standings is the Barca Academy who have earned more points per game having played one fewer match than RSL.
Additionally, Arriaga made his Major League Soccer debut in RSL’s narrow 2-1 loss to LAFC on March 23, adding his name to the growing list of RSL Academy products to have made their debuts for the first team. In 2019, RSL has seen RSL Academy products total 1,306 minutes in MLS this season, continuing a trend that saw the club lead all MLS club’s in Academy product minutes played in 2018 with 10,826.
Former RSL Academy products are also continuing to make their marks on soccer in Utah as Erik “Gallo” Virgen and Milan Iloski have signed with USL League Two side Ogden City SC for the 2019 season. Virgen will return to Utah for the summer after his first season in the NCAA at New Mexico was marred by the removal of the school’s program. Iloski has played two seasons at UCLA and in 2018 scored three goals. Both players will feature for Ogden from May to July, the time USL League Two’s season runs.
On Saturday, March 30, the U-17s will open the matches against Crossfire Premier at Zions Bank Real Academy at 11:30a MT before the U-19s kickoff at 1:00p MT. RSL Academy matches are free and open to the public with fans of the club strongly encouraged to attend and witness the next generation of possible RSL and Real Monarchs players.