Ricardo Velazco is officially a Real Salt Lake player: The Real Monarchs standout and a graduate of RSL's Arizona academy was announced as a first-team player today, likely bringing to a close the team's movement before the roster freeze date.
Velazco, whose best position is likely on the wing, is an attacking, creative player that has been at the front of much of the good work Monarchs have been doing. He's good with the ball at his feet and provides good movement off the ball, but he's also quite capable striking the ball from distance, both from the run of play and dead-ball situations.
The 23-year-old has proved a reliable hard worker and an exciting, upcoming talent in the ranks. He's also shown leadership qualities, as he's been consistently the club's captain this year.
He's formed good partnerships during his two-year stint with Monarchs, too. In 2015, he provided four assists, and he's provided five in 2016 to this point. But what's more meaningful this year has been his goalscoring numbers: He's boosted his two in 2015 to eight in 2016.
There's a common thread with his goals, too: They're often from distance, and they're typically on the spectacular side.
In an interview with the Tucson Sentinel published on Aug. 28, Velazco indicated he was interested in moving up through the organization.
“You gotta stay with an open mind because you never know,” he said. “You could have a job today, and you could not have a job tomorrow. Hopefully I can stay in this organization and keep moving up. If not, it is what it is.”
“Keep playing and keep doing well and good things will happen,” he added.
Velazco's transition to Real Salt Lake may have been sealed in July, when he was one of several Real Monarchs players called up to to take part in a friendly against Inter Milan. He and Andrew Brody particularly impressed of the reserves contingent, and tellingly, Craig Waibel spoke positively of both players.
Waibel: I thought Ricardo Velazco handled himself really well. Andrew Brody showed well beyond his years. #rsl— Matt Montgomery (@TheCrossbarRSL) July 23, 2016
Waibel: We’re very, very comfortable calling Velazco, Brody in on the wings.— Matt Montgomery (@TheCrossbarRSL) July 23, 2016