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2016 Player Profiles: Ricardo Velazco

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Ricardo Velazco impressed with Real Monarchs as a playmaker — can he replace Javier Morales?

Ricardo Velazco taking a corner kick for Real Monarchs. John Engels

First-year RSL attacker Ricardo Velazco came up through the Real Salt Lake-Arizona academy under current Real Monarchs manager Freddy Juarez from 2010-2012.

2016 Ranking: Unranked

Signed with RSL: 2016

Velazco made no appearances for RSL in 2016.

Velazco would go on to spend the next three years playing college soccer with Cal State Bernardino and the University of Louisville. With Louisville, he would earn multiple accolades: First-team All Conference and First Team All-Midwest region. In his two seasons in Kentucky, he tallied 13 goals and 14 assists in 42 matches while teaming up with fellow RSL-AZ product Andrew Brody.

After his junior season, Velazco signed with Real Monarchs for their inaugural season in 2015. Velazco led the team in assists with four while adding two goals in his first professional season.

2016 was the big breakthrough for Velazco. With a team-leading eight goals and six assists, Velazco captained the Monarchs and led by example which earned him a contract with Real Salt Lake on Sept. 6, 2016. The 23 year old from Casa Grande, AZ became the 6th RSL-AZ academy product on the roster.

“He’s the type of player that deserves a chance,” RSL general manager Craig Waibel said. “If you’re going to have a second-division team and you’re going to bring guys through it, then this is the type of player that deserves to get a really good look and a chance to stick with the first team.”

Ricardo Velazco of Real Monarchs on the ball against LA Galaxy 2 in a USL match. John Engels

Velazco did not make any MLS appearances, but did come on in a cameo appearance to hold his own in a friendly against Inter Milan. Velazco is listed as a forward but has also appeared on the wing and in midfield in his career.

RSL supporters will be worried about the lack of a playmaker after Javier Morales’ recent departure, but a possible replacement could be Casa Grande’s own Ricardo Velazco.