On Monday, Real Salt Lake defender Justen Glad joined the team for its 2020 preseason preparation after participating in the U.S. Men’s National Team’s annual January camp since January 5.
Glad enters his seventh year in Major League Soccer having signed with RSL when he was just 16 years old. Still just 22 years old – an age most would consider too young or too inexperienced – Glad has been tabbed the young veteran in the locker room and a leader in the group.
“It’s wild to think that this is year seven for me,” Glad reflected. “it’s surreal to think that I could be considered a veteran while still being as young as I am. This year I hope to use my experience and become more of a leader through vocal action and speaking my mind more. In 2020 I’m looking forward to emulating what Kyle Beckerman and Nedum Onuoha do to be such good examples on our team.”
Having spent the first part of the year with the USMNT, Glad has had the opportunity to stay fit and sharp on the ball ahead of the rest of RSL reporting for camp. In addition to his sharpness and fitness, Glad thinks he always brings something back to Utah after spending time with the national team.
“I feel like I always bring back a good speed of play,” Glad said. “There is plenty to take away from camp that I can translate to RSL, but the main thing is just quick and simple decisions. When you open up teams then things on the field will open up to you. If you can make the game simpler for you then good things will come.”
In 2019, RSL held one of the Western Conference’s best home records, finishing the year at 12-4-1 (37 points), due largely in part to the staunch defensive presence that Glad and other defenders had on the field. In 2020, the team will look to replicate and better its defensive performances.
“I thought we were great last year,” Glad explained. “This year we need to bring the communication and hard work that we gave last year and use that to build that into the understanding of what our goals are for this year. My personal goals tie into the team goal of having the most shutouts in the league this season. We’re already working to make sure that happens this year.”
Glad and the rest of RSL will remain Herriman this week before departing for the fourth leg of the preseason next week. The team will be in Tucson, Arizona, from February 11-23 where it will train and play three matches in the 2020 Visit Tucson Sun Cup. The team’s full preseason schedule can be found here.