5. Omar Holness
Despite not playing a professional match in the Claret-and-Cobalt, Omar Holness has already captured a lot of attention.
Holness was taken by RSL with the fifth overall pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. With international experience already under his belt, the young Jamaican looks poised to be the next big thing for the club. Pundits have claimed that he could be a starting box-to-box midfielder in his freshman year. With his ability to play physical and cover ground, he will fit nicely in the 4-3-3 formation employed by Jeff Cassar's RSL.
4. Boyd Okwuonu
The U.S. U-23s' go to right back has received a huge boost from his experience in the 2016 Olympic Qualifying tournament.
Selected in the second round (27th overall pick) of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, Okwuonu is one of those elusive diamond in the rough types. It was almost destiny that he ended up with Real having family ties to Salt Lake.
As of right now he sits behind Beltran in the depth chart but has already earned valuable minutes with the Real Monarchs. Okwuonu's smart touches on the ball and ability to overlap in the attack is something the franchise has come to admire in the sophomore player.
3. Jeff Attinella
Drafted 14th overall in the 2011 MLS Supplemental Draft, Attinella has been part of the Real Salt Lake family for longer than it seems. Realizing that he needed experience that he would not get sitting behind Nick Rimando. Therefore, the club released him to gain valuable development in the form of match minutes with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, known then as FC Tampa Bay, of the NASL.
The Florida native thrived in the NASL and rejoined the Claret-and-Cobalt in 2012. Since his return, Attinella has been credited with more than one physics-defying saves and even earned his fair share of Save of the Week nods from the league.
Sitting behind the Wall of the Wasatch and leading shutout holder in the league can be imposing, but Attinella steps up time and time again when his name is called. Given time, Attinella could become the next Wall of the Wasatch.
2. Chris Schuler
The injury bug has been a consistent torn in the side of Schuler throughout his professional career.
Schuler was selected 39th out of Creighton in 2010. While his physical attributes are domineering, he is also a player with a high soccer IQ. He was, at least on paper for last season, the cerebral center-back on the RSL squad having learned from Borchers before his departure to Portland. Injuries, however, limited his playing time for the club – only 450 minutes in 2015.
Considered to be one of the best and strongest defenders in the league, Schuler’s contract expired at the end of 2015 leaving his future in limbo. Craig Waibel told media on countless occasions that they are still in negations and talks with Schuler but as the start of the season draws ever closer, his return seems less and less likely.
Still, for his work he did while in the Claret-and-Cobalt kit, he definitely earned the second spot on this list.
1. Tony Beltran
The iron man at the back: No defender has played more minutes for RSL in recent history than Tony Beltran.
Beltran was drafted with the third pick in the 2008 SuperDraft as a Generation Adidas Player. Early on with the Claret-and-Cobalt, he provided depth behind Robbie Russell before his transfer to DC United. Since then, Beltran has locked down the right fullback position, making it his own – even earning some nods from MLS pundits as one of the best American fullbacks.
Beltran has spent his entire professional career with the RSL, during which, he has earned an All Star selection in 2013 and three caps with the senior U.S. squad. While he has not scored in a regular season match – scoring twice in U.S. Open Cup matches – he managed to tie his season high of two assists in 2015. In all, Beltran has made 195 appearance for the franchise and will subsequently make many more – expect him to surpass 200 before the summer months.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story listed Beltran as having made 190 regular season appearances; he has, in fact, made 195.
- Jean Alexandre
- Devon Sandoval
- John Stertzer
- Sebastian Velasquez
- Collen Warner