It’s safe to say that we all assumed that the career trajectory for second round draft pick Justin Schmidt was going to start with the Monarchs team. With Justen Glad, Aaron Maund, Chris Schuler and David Horst all ahead of him, it made perfect sense. Well, America is the land of opportunity and after one game in the regular season, that opportunity came to Justin.
He started three of the next four games and after another 4 on the bench he started or played a role in the next 6 games. That’s a lot of pressure for a young player but Justin handled it as well as he could and embraced the chance afforded to him. He played well next to Horst against Chicago and while his form tailed towards the end of his run in the first team he showed constant glimpses of why RSL ranked him so highly in the draft run up.
The thing that set him apart from other player on the roster is his physicality. He’s 6ft 1in and 200lbs and is only beaten in size by David Horst. When you have that kind of size in a league that’s becoming as technical as MLS is, it’s very easy to stop your opponent simply by being in the right place at the right time which Justin is learning with every game.
What to expect in 2018
For me, I would expect his sophomore year with RSL to play like the first should have. He will report to Real Monarchs and look to cement a first team place there, impress the head office and try work his way back into Real Salt Lake first team contention. Now, I’m not predicting this because I don’t rate Justin, far from it! I think he is a tremendous talent and could become a key player for us. However, I see the way MLS want’s players to grow and so I expect Justin will be sent to the Monarchs to do just that because between Glad, Silva and anybody else we bring in at the CB option, I think Justin is best placed down there.