The last week has been yet another busy one this offseason for Real Salt Lake, especially technical director Craig Waibel, coach Jeff Cassar, and the remainder of the staff. We had the 2015 MLS SuperDraft to contend with, and that's not over yet.
Starting with only one pick in the draft — #16 — you'd be forgiven if you thought it would be a quiet day for the club. But trading that first-round pick to Seattle Sounders for a substantial chunk of allocation and the Sounders second-round pick (just under $100k, says the rumor mill) created a bit of controversy (the comments section on the linked article should help you understand why).
Then shortly after, with the 27th pick, RSL drafted Boyd Okwuonu, a smart-passing center back from North Carolina. Waibel's tipped Okwuonu as a right back candidate, but he's also said he won't be forced into that position. We've put together a report with some highlight videos and TopDrawerSoccer did a great statistical look at his college career.
One player who didn't go through the draft? Phanuel Kavita, who officially signed a contract on Tuesday. That all puts our center back situation in pretty clear view. And that wasn't all that happened to our center back setup — Elias Vasquez, a 22-year-old Guatemalan center back who's been playing in the Mexican second division was reported to be joining Real Salt Lake. He's played in CONCACAF Champions League and he's had 22 caps for Guatemala — and that's nothing to be sniffed at.
In more official business, Abdoulie Mansally and Aaron Maund officially re-signed with Real Salt Lake, which puts us at five center backs, two left backs, and at least two right backs (this is especially true if we count Okwuonu and Jordan Allen as right backs). Whoa. It's like — well, it's like a real squad. Speaking of defenders: Demar Phillips should be official soon, pending approval of his work visa.
That midfielder Pecka? He officially joined Real Salt Lake from Ft. Lauderdale Strikers. He'll be a big part of whatever we do with our formation next year.
And that's our week in a nutshell. This week, we've got the Supplemental Draft on Tuesday (hooray?), the official signing of Demar Phillips, and the start of Real Salt Lake's preseason. Friday marks entrance physicals, and Sunday is the first day of physical testing and training.