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Real Salt Lake signs Jose Hernandez to homegrown deal

The UCLA and RSL-AZ product is making the jump to the first team.

Jose Hernandez
Courtesy of UCLA Athletics

Real Salt Lake has signed UCLA and RSL-Arizona product Jose Hernandez to a homegrown deal, general manager Craig Waibel announced Monday in a town hall meeting.

Hernandez, 20, played for two years at UCLA, where he earned numerous accolades, including being named Pac-12 Co-Player of the Year. He also spent time with Real Salt Lake’s Arizona-based academy in Casa Grande, Ariz.; during that time, he was called up to RSL’s reserves on numerous occasions.

His joining the club is an interesting because he’s bypassing — at least in contract — Real Monarchs. That’s a statement from the club about their belief in his ability, certainly, but don’t be surprised if the bulk of his playing time in 2016 comes for RSL’s second side.

He’s definitely on the smaller side — he’s listed as 5’6” in the UCLA guide — and that’s especially true in the midfield. But he’s shown an ability to scrap out of possession and to maintain it neatly when he has the ball, both through fine dribbling skills and through his passing.

A real goalscorer at the NCAA level, at UCLA in 2015, Hernandez set a single-season record for the most multi-goal games with five.

Awards and Accolades

  • 2016 NSCAA All-America third team selection
  • 2016 Pac-12 Co-Player of the Year
  • 2016 Top Drawer Soccer Best XI Second Team selection
  • 2015 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year
  • 2015 Top Drawer Soccer Freshman Best XI selection
  • 2014-15 U-18 West Conference Player of the Year