Ricardo Velazco’s signing at Real Salt Lake is a monumental one — not because he’s a high-price-tag player, and certainly not because he’s the first to sign from the academy.
But he is the first to have signed having followed what RSL general manager Craig Waibel called a “the complete progression route” in a press release today.
From an organizational standpoint we are really proud that Ricardo is the first player that has followed the complete progression route from the Academy through the USL team and now to the first team.
Ricardo has performed well enough to capitalize on this opportunity and he has earned it. For the organization, this is a proud day and with the new facility in Herriman coming in the next 12 months, we will certainly see more and more players follow in Ricardo's footsteps as we grow.
In the same press release, RSL coach Jeff Cassar praised Velazco’s hard work, attributing to it his move to the first team.
The things Ricardo has been doing with the Monarchs has been noticed and he's being rewarded for the work he's done. If you do it at each level, you're going to be rewarded and Ricardo is a great model for how things are working. It's a massive step for the club and a massive step for him and I couldn't be happier for him.
Real Monarchs coach Freddy Juarez, who coached Velazco at both the academy and at Monarchs, spoke highly of Velazco’s leadership and improvement on and off the field.
He's worked on his entire game and become a better pro. He's developed a shot — five or six of his goals have been great goals from a tough angle.
He's become a leader and matured as a young man and developed the on and off-field type of leadership and professionalism that have helped him take big strides on the field. I think he's earned it and it's exciting.
Finally, Velazco himself talked about his move up the ranks.
This means the world for me and my family. This has been a dream for me and my dad for a long time. I had a very unique route and there have always been eyes on me. I told myself along the way that it's never over unless I give up and I'm glad I took the route that I did and I'm thankful for the mentors I had that helped me along the way."