With plenty of uncertainty surrounding the world, one thing is for certain: the RSL Academy produced more graduates of the Academy and introduced entirely new members to the Academy Family in Herriman.
Six RSL Academy members graduated from the RSL Academy and committed to colleges around the country in 2020. Richard Ruiz (Gonzaga), Christian Olivares (Salt Lake Community College), Brennan Klein (Boston College), Austin Ciampini (Dixie State), Erwin Martinez (Utah Valley) and Tommy Silva (UCLA) all capped outstanding careers at the RSL Academy and now move on to continue their playing careers and education.
“We are delighted to have helped these players move onto the next stage of their development,” RSL Academy Director Tom Spall said. “As a staff we are, more than ever trying to guide as many players as possible to achieve their goals and reach their potential in either of the two pathways we promote. We, as an Academy staff know that, not every player that passes through our Academy will become a professional soccer player at the age of 19, so we have to make sure that, if a player does not develop the required skill set to be offered a professional contract with the Club at the end of their senior year, we must do everything in our power to help them into a college program, which suits their individual needs, at that point in time, with the hope that they will continue to develop and become a professional further down the line. The Academy staff are doing a great job of identifying and liaising with colleges throughout the country to ensure this happens moving forward.”
The RSL Academy’s outgoing class combined for a total 293 appearances across all age groups within the RSL Academy during their Academy careers.
Entering the RSL Academy for its first year within Major League Soccer’s new Elite Youth Platform – which will feature 95 total clubs from around the United States and Canada – the RSL Academy has currently welcomed (15) new players to its ranks.
Izahi Amparo (RSL Arziona), Chris Grote (RSL Arizona), Gabriel Miranda (Nevada), Tristan Wouters (California), David Zavala (Michigan), Terron Williams (San Diego), Zion Vaughn (RSL Arizona), Noah Segura (RSL Arizona), Axel Havelange (San Diego), Angel Robles (Nevada), Angel Montesinos (California), Blake Kelly (Michigan), Gershon Henry (Michigan), Jude Wellings (Michigan) Dominic Periera (Nevada) have all committed to the Academy for its upcoming fall season.
“The Academy staff are excited to welcome these new recruits to our Club and look forward to helping them achieve their potential in the coming seasons,” Spall said. “All the staff have been working tirelessly over this last few months to recruit the best possible players we can to make up our U15s squad for next season, while also adding more quality to our U17s and U19s moving forward. It has been a very difficult time for everyone, amid the COVID19 restrictions, so the staff have had to come up with a new strategy for recruitment to ensure that, when Academy soccer does re-start, we can hit the ground running and continue the good work put in place previously. We believe that, the players we have recruited are of the highest caliber and have the qualities required to progress and enhance our already, excellent number of homegrown players who have gone on to represent the Club at a professional level.
Ahead of the upcoming season, the RSL Academy has seen its commitment to its top satellite program in Arizona pay dividends with four players joining the ranks in Herriman having first featured for RSL Arizona. Additionally, the RSL Academy will see two players from its affiliate club in San Diego – Our City SC – join the U-15 squad.
Entering the 2020 season, the RSL Academy has seen 57 players sign professional contracts, including 30 players that have joined Real Salt Lake or Real Monarchs directly from the Academy.