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Q&A with Jordan Allen, part two: The academy, joining RSL, and the national team

Continuing from the first part of our interview with Real Salt Lake rising star Jordan Allen, we talk to the right-sided player about his time at the RSL academy, joining the club, and youth national team experience.

In the second and final part of our interview, he tells us about the value of the academy, joining Real Salt Lake from University of Virginia, and what it's like being a United States youth national team prospect.

Randal Serr: Tell me about your time at the Real Salt Lake academy. What was your day to day like and how much did you improve over your time with the academy?

Jordan Allen: The academy gave me the opportunity to train every day after school and be surrounded by quality players who had similar goals to my own. I always speak highly about Freddy (ed. note: Juarez, now Real Monarchs coach) at the academy because he is someone that played a big role in my development. He improved my decision making and taught me the way that RSL play. If you ask any player that has been involved in the academy set up they will tell you that Freddy is immense.

RS: RSL's academy is unique in that it is a residential academy, much like many of the best academies across the world. Is that part of why you went there?

JA: I left the US U-17 program in Bradenton really wanting to continue at a residential academy and at the time RSL was the only team with one set up so it was a no-brainer.

RS: What were the events leading up to you signing a contract with RSL at the end of 2013 and what were those conversations like? It must have been a big moment in your life.

JA: The summer going into my semester at UVA I had spent about a month here in Salt Lake training with the team. In that time I agreed with Garth and Jason that I would sign at the end of the year. It was important for me to enroll at UVA so that I could have their degree completion plan to fall back on, as education is important to my family. If I had committed to college without that program I probably would have signed for RSL years ago.

RS: What has your experience been training alongside World Cup veteran teammates Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando? What are their respective leadership styles?

JA: Playing with players of their quality gives myself and all the other young guys a level to aspire to. They're both vocal leaders who find a way to motivate in a very positive manner. They're everything RSL want to be.

RS: There is a lot of talk about RSL being a family and that there is great team chemistry compared with many other teams. How long did it take to feel comfortable with your teammates?

JA: Having spent so much time with the team prior to signing I felt very comfortable with the team from the beginning. There's a good mix of veterans and younger players in the locker room and there is an acceptance of "The Team is the Star" motto. When you have a group of people who all accept that motto it is impossible for them to not be close.

RS: You have been called up various times to the U.S. Youth National Teams. What is that experience like and have you ever had any direct interaction with Jurgen Klinsmann?

JA: Representing the national team at the youth level is something I'm very proud of. I captained the U18's on a few occasions and I will treasure that for the rest of my life. With the U20 World Cup coming up this summer I'm really hoping that I can get myself back into the picture for that.

RS: Many fans would argue that you are a huge part of the future of Real Salt Lake. What are your aspirations this year and going forward? How can you make an impact on this team?

JA: This year I really just want to make up for lost time. My goal is to contribute to the first team and emulate what Luke did for us last year. Hopefully I can make a similar impact but offer a different option of 1v1 oriented play within our system that we haven't had as much of in the past.