SANDY, Utah (Saturday, October 19, 2019) - Real Salt Lake today announced the team’s annual award winners for 2019, which were based on voting by RSL players. MF Everton Luiz was voted the club’s Most Valuable Player and DF Aaron Herrera was voted Defensive Player of the Year. MF Albert Rusnák earned the Golden Boot for the second time in three seasons with the club, while MF Kyle Beckerman earned the Jordan Guernsey Humanitarian of the Year.
MF Everton Luiz: RSL Most Valuable Player
Everton Luiz joined Real Salt Lake prior to the 2019 season and earned a quick reputation as a force in the midfield. He started in 24 of his 27 appearances and was among the league leaders in tackles until he was limited in a seven-match stretch by a hamstring injury. Upon his return, RSL went on to go 9-5-3 over his final 17 starts. He finished the season leading the club with 72 tackles while also adding two assists.
Luiz is the 10th different player to earn the RSL Most Valuable Player Award and is the third straight player to earn the honor in his first season with the club after Damir Kreilach in 2018 and Albert Rusnák in 2017.
MF Albert Rusnák: RSL Golden Boot Award
In his third season with Real Salt Lake, Albert Rusnák led the team in scoring with 10 goals to take home the club’s Golden Boot Award for the second time. The 25-year-old Slovakian started in 28 of this 29 appearances and notched five assists, driving his career totals to 27 goals and 26 assists in 90 appearances, 86 of them in a starting role. Real Salt Lake went 6-1-2 in the nine matches in which Rusnák scored, moving the club’s record to 19-3-2 when he scores since his arrival in 2017.
Rusnák also won the RSL Golden Boot Award in 2017, when he led the team with seven goals and 14 assists. He is the fourth player in club history to earn the award in multiple seasons, joining Robbie Findley (2007, 2009), Alvaro Saborio (2010-2013) and Joao Plata (2014, 2016).
DF Aaron Herrera: RSL Defensive Player of the Year
In his second full season in MLS, Aaron Herrera established himself in the right back role for RSL. The Real Salt Lake Academy product led the club with 2,768 minutes played while starting in 31 of his 32 appearances. He finished the season first on the team with 57 interceptions, second with 63 tackles and tied for third with 12 blocks while also getting involved in the attack with four assists.
Herrera is the tenth different player to win Defensive Player of the Year honors for RSL and third product of the RSL Academy, joining Justen Glad (2016, 2017) and Brooks Lennon (2018).
MF Kyle Beckerman: Jordan Guernsey Humanitarian of the Year
Kyle Beckerman was named the 2019 Jordan Guernsey Humanitarian of the Year for his wide-ranging and extensive work in the community, earning the honor for the second consecutive season. Beckerman partnered with Mylo Fowler in an effort to provide power and light to the Navajo Reservation. Because they lack power and light, children on the reservation regularly fall behind in school due to an inability to complete homework and reading assignments. As part of the MLS Greener Goals initiative, the RSL Foundation raised $12,000 by auctioning RSL’s Parley jerseys in 2019 and those funds went towards providing solar power to homes in the Navajo Reservation. Beckerman and Fowler traveled to the reservation and helped install the equipment in homes and the existing funds will go towards lighting 50 homes. Beckerman’s further efforts will go towards the greater goal of lighting all 18,000 homes on the Navajo Reservation that are currently without power and garner the recognition of this issue on reservations throughout the country.
He also promoted health and fitness in the community with the goal of making soccer accessible by hosting the launch of futsal courts in Salt Lake City. His additional efforts included hosting Make-A-Wish meet-and-greets before games.
In 2015, the club announced that the Humanitarian of the Year Award would be named in honor of one of Real Salt Lake’s biggest fans, the late Jordan Guernsey, whose passion for work in the community embodied the spirit of the award.
Real Salt Lake All-Time Season-Ending Award Recipients
RSL Most Valuable Player: Everton Luiz (2019), Damir Kreilach (2018), Albert Rusnák (2017), Kyle Beckerman (2016), Javier Morales (2015), Joao Plata (2014), Kyle Beckerman (2013), Kyle Beckerman (2012), Kyle Beckerman (2011), Javier Morales (2010), Nat Borchers (2009), Javier Morales (2008), Nick Rimando (2007), Jeff Cunningham (2006), Andy Williams (2005)
RSL Golden Boot Award: Albert Rusnák (2019), Damir Kreilach (2018), Albert Rusnák (2017), Joao Plata (2016), Javier Morales (2015), Joao Plata (2014), Álvaro Saborío (2013), Álvaro Saborío (2012), Álvaro Saborío (2011), Álvaro Saborío (2010), Robbie Findley (2009), Yura Movsisyan (2008), Robbie Findley (2007), Jeff Cunningham (2006), Jason Kreis (2005)
RSL Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Herrera (2019), Brooks Lennon (2018), Justen Glad (2017), Justen Glad (2016), Aaron Maund (2015), Chris Schuler (2014), Nick Rimando (2013), Nick Rimando (2012), Nat Borchers (2011), Nat Borchers (2010), Jamison Olave (2009), Nat Borchers (2008), Eddie Pope (2007), Carey Talley (2006), Eddie Pope (2005)
Jordan Guernsey Humanitarian of the Year: Kyle Beckerman (2019), Kyle Beckerman (2018), Justin Schmidt (2017), Jordan Allen and Justen Glad (2016), Abdoulie Mansally (2015), Abdoulie Mansally (2014), Chris Wingert (2013), Will Johnson (2012), Jean Alexandre (2011), Jean Alexandre (2010), Robbie Russell (2009), Nat Borchers (2008), Carey Talley (2007), Seth Trembly (2006), Brian Kamler (2005)