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Q&A with Justen Glad: Young defender on RSL experience

One of Real Salt Lake's young, talented players, Justen Glad, answered some of our questions in a question-and-answer format.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

What made you interested in the RSL academy and what makes it different from other academies?

Justen Glad: Well, I had two friends from club soccer who ended up going to the Real Salt Lake academy the year before I did. And then after they played a season they told me I should go check it out and try out. That's how I got involved with the whole academy system.

The Real Salt Lake academy is different from other academies because, I mean, first of all, it's a residential academy so we got around 70 kids living there full time, which brings a different dynamic than different academies throughout the country I think. Having 70 other kids who are dedicated to getting better at soccer every day and having that type of atmosphere just kind of differentiates it from other academies.

What was it like coming to a team with World Cup-caliber players, and how were you able to eventually feel comfortable?

It's a huge honor. Playing with the likes of Nick and Kyle is definitely a dream come true. They made it really easy to kind of calibrate with them. They were super welcoming. They don't really have egos or anything that would make it difficult to relate. So, just having those players around that are World Cup caliber and also really good makes playing for RSL a really good time.

I don't think too many fans know what a training session is like. Tell us what players do at training and how they differ from amateur training sessions.

It's quick. It's fast. Everyone's bigger, stronger, faster, smarter. So you just kind of have to roll with it, play quicker and faster, be bigger and stronger. At the academy they try and mimic everything that we do here at the first team. So I think having come from the academy and going up here really helps the transition. Coming from professional type practices with Freddy at the academy, transitioning was easier for sure. 

When you were deciding between a scholarship at Stanford and a professional contract with Real Salt Lake, what were the factors that went into that decision?

There were a lot. I mean, it took a month or two to figure out what I wanted to do. I think the main factor is obviously education is really important. It's important to me, it's important to my family. So sacrificing that was a big decision to make, but in the end, following your dream and having a dream that you can do for a limited amount of time for, I don't know, about 15 years if you're lucky, pursuing that kind of took precedence over education for the moment. I'm still pursuing a degree obviously, but not the same way that I would be.

What are your goals for the 2016 season?

Playing time. Just trying to crack the 11 every once in a while and show the fans, show Jeff that I can bring a different dynamic to this team.

In your opinion, who is the best defender in the world and why?

Best defender in the world. [Turns to Danilo Acosta] Help me out here, Dani. Sergio Ramos. I think Sergio Ramos is the best defender in the world because he's smart, he's technical, he directs his back line. Yeah. He's a boss.

What have you learned from some of the RSL veterans over the past few years?

On the soccer field, positionally you're always picking up things here and there. When to step, when not to step, sliding over at the proper times, what to do  in certain situations. All that on field stuff. And a lot of that is if I'm playing a position that I'm not used to playing - if I'm playing right back Tony's helping me out, if I'm playing center back Aaron's helping me out. I've got Jeff and Nick behind me always telling me stuff. So really, it would be unfair to point out one thing that they help me with because obviously I'm learning from them every day so there's a lot of stuff that I'm picking up on.

What was your impression of Salt Lake City before moving here and what is your impression now?

It was a gorgeous city. I was surprised when I told people like my friends and family that I was going to move to Utah; none of them really had an idea what Utah was about or anything. But going there and living there now for the past year and a half, two years, it's a nice city. It's a great location, great geography, great landscape, the weather's really nice. So I'm a fan.