Javier Morales says he’s leaving Real Salt Lake, and none of us are super excited about that prospect.
The 10-year RSL veteran announced in a Twitter post that it was time to leave the club.
Dedicated to the RSL fans , to my teammates, my friends and to the people of Utah. You will always be in my heart. Javi Morales #11 pic.twitter.com/8lgutRAx5z— Javier Morales (@javi_mo11) November 3, 2016
It is unclear exactly what comes next for Morales, but here’s what we do know.
He said he’s leaving Real Salt Lake
However, he doesn’t say whether this is in a playing capacity or in a broader capacity. His “goodbye” message isn’t entirely clear on that.
Craig Waibel insinuated that some older players may be up for office jobs
Here’s what Waibel said about that on ESPN 700.
I don’t think there’s any secret. We want to get a little younger, a little bit quicker, a little bit stronger. In order to do that, we have to make some decisions. The other thing I touched on was that there’s always going to speculation, but the conversations are — everyone’s future’s different — there are a lot of ways to keep players in the organization without playing.
“There are a lot of ways to keep players in the organization without playing.” It’s not particularly hard to imagine that Waibel is talking about Javier Morales — but it’s the timing that makes this one particularly interesting. Did Waibel extend an offer to Morales, who turned it down? Has an offer been extended? Is Morales playing his cards in a way that gives him positioning?
If he stays at RSL — and that’s a big “if” — will he play?
It’s hard to imagine there’s any coming back from this for Morales, the player — at least not in Salt Lake City. Morales, the coach? That one’s a little easier to sort out. He’s been a player bandied about for such a position with regularity, and he certainly has played a coaching role from within the locker room.
Why are we surprised?
Just over a year ago, Morales said he wanted to finish his career in Salt Lake City.
"I want to finish my career here with Real Salt Lake," Morales said in the press release. "Real Salt Lake is the most important team in my life. It’s the team that didn’t just make me a better player. The club made me a better person. I came here and it was magic. Everything changed and everything was good for me and my family."
We were under the impression it was a multi-year contract, likely with club options. Maybe this means the club option was turned down. Maybe this is Morales indicating clearly he’s done with the club. Regardless, this comes only a day after player exit interviews, and that timing doesn’t seem like a coincidence.
Is there any chance he stays?
Here’s hoping. We don’t know that yet, and if you read the statement, there are multiple ways to interpret his message. IT sounds pretty cut and dry, but I suspect there’s more going on.
Why haven’t current RSL players reached out on Twitter?
Well, there are a few reasons for that: First, there’s likely much more internal communication between current teammates than former, who have wished him the best. Second, as a current teammate, there are likely forces at play here that those players shouldn’t be talking about — from contracts and coaches to intra-locker-room relationships and turmoil.
What comes next?
It’s a “wait and see” sort of thing from here. Does Morales end up at another club in MLS? Did the club decline an option on his contract, and could he exercise free agency in the league? Does he have any interest in remaining in MLS? As a U.S. citizen, he has many options.
What’s more: Will he end up in a coaching job, and is it possible he’d end up doing so elsewhere in the league? He was incredibly well respected as a player at RSL, and that would certainly provide some impetus for other teams to reach out. And there’s one man out there he has a great deal of experience with, and he’s currently in a coaching position in Florida.