Chris Schuler is back in the Real Salt Lake system, with Real Monarchs announcing today that they signed the veteran center back for 2016.
Schuler, 28, has been remarkably prone to injury during his Real Salt Lake career, with foot problems plaguing his MLS career. Despite a successful 2014, which saw Schuler out only after he collided with former RSL center back Nat Borchers and broke his cheek and orbital bones, 2015 was considerably worse — he played five matches, then missed the rest of the season.
Schuler's last appearance for RSL was in July, and there was a three-month gap between that match and his last appearance before that.
In a press release, Schuler called signing with Real Monarchs a "transition point."
"This is a good transition point. I still have something to prove and I'm thankful for the Monarchs to give me this opportunity," he said. "It's great to have Craig Waibel, Jeff Cassar and Freddy Juarez supporting me and being in my corner. It definitely helps to be around familiar faces because my teammates have shown me a lot of support along the way."
In that same release, Real Monarchs coach Freddy Juarez said the team was "excited to help" Schuler in his recovery.
"Chris is an experienced national team level center back that we're excited to help, excited to see if we can get him healthy and get him playing back to where he was at his best and maybe even add to him," Juarez said.
He's been out of the game for a little bit, so a lot of times when that happens and you take a step back you get that energy again, you humble yourself a little bit, you're hungry. We're hoping a lot of things for him, helping him, getting him back, so eventually he gets back to the first team and contributes, but also the time that he's with us, he's a leader that can help the younger guys in their development. He's a big part and we're excited to have him at training every day.
It remains to be seen if this will lead to Schuler returning to Real Salt Lake, but if his recovery goes well, don't be surprised if he does.
Real Monarchs open their season on March 26 against St. Louis FC at Rio Tinto Stadium.