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Real Monarchs SLC 2016 Player Profiles: Jesus Leal

Jesus Leal will return to the 2017 Monarchs and continue his attempt to become the Kyle Beckerman of the junior squad.

Jesús Antonio Leal Bernal (Jesus Leal), was born on Dec. 18, 1992 in Culiacán, the largest city and capitol of the state of Sinaloa in Mexico. He signed with Club America in Liga MX in the 2010-2011 season and first made the 18 man game squad for the match against Puebla on March 4, 2011 but did not see the pitch.

During June 2011, he appeared in five of the six matches played by the U20 Club America team in the first edition of the U20 Copa Libertadores in Lima, Peru. He started two of these matches and was a substitute in the other three for a team that finished in third place. In June of 2012 he once again traveled with the U20 Club America team to the 2012 edition of the U20 Copa Libertadores in Lima, Peru. This year, however, he only made two brief substitute appearances. As with many young players he struggled throughout the 2010-11, 2011-12, and 2012-13 Liga MX seasons to find any kind of regular playing time.

Jesus Leal finally made his first-team debut with Club America in the 2013-2014 Liga MX season in a match against Puebla on Oct. 26, 2013 coming in as a 75th minute substitute. He followed this with a start against Tigres on Oct. 29, 2013, another start against Toluca on 9 November 2013, and finally substituting in against Monterrey on March 1, 2014 and getting a very late yellow card. During 2015-2016 Liga MX season Jesus made on two appearances in CONCACAAF Champions League play, going for a full ninety minutes in the home match against Bayamon in CONCACAF Champions League play and coming in as a late substitute in the away fixture against the same team.

Still struggling to find regular minutes, Leal was loaned to Cimarrones de Sonora FC in the Ascenso MX (second division) for the 2015-2016 season. With Cimarrones Leal made 6 appearances (including 4 starts and 3 full 90 minute games) during the Apertura and another 12 appearances (all as a starter with 10 full 90 minute games) in the Clausura. He also scored his first, and only professional goal, against Atlante on Oct. 23, 2015. Nearly all his playing time with Cimarrones was as a defensive midfielder immediately in front of the back line where he continued after signing with Real Monarchs SLC on Aug. 12.

As the Monarchs 2016 season ended, Leal made four appearances as a defensive midfielder in September. His first appearance was as a substitute for the final 28 minutes of the OC Blues game on Sept. 9. He then started the final three matches against San Antonio FC, Arizona United FC, LA Galaxy II. For much of these appearances he was partnered with Charlie Adams right in front of the back four where he appeared very smooth and fluid with the ball and linked well with the two center backs. However, Leal did struggle noticeably with establishing a connection with the attacking midfielders and working the ball forward rather than simply playing a long ball forward.

Having his option for 2017 picked up by the Monarchs, Leal can look forward to spending a full spring training with the team and hopefully continue his good work on the defensive side while improving the offensive side of his game. If he wants to remain a starter however he needs to ensure that he eliminates the occasional cheap giveaways and that there is not a lot of repetition of his single yellow card as a Monarch which was the result of a bit of frustration near the end of the game against Arizona United.