2017 started with a little bit of a scare for RSL fans, because not only did the team start off the season 0-3-2 in their first 5 games, but their rising star, Justen Glad was injured. Having suffered a pretty serious knee injury, he started off the year without playing a single minute for the first 10-plus games of the season.
Then, in May, when he was just about ready to return from injury, he got called into the FIFA U-20 World Cup with the United States. Glad, Danilo Acosta, Brooks Lennon and Sebastian Saucedo all flew to Korea to play in the World Cup, leaving RSL without four of their best youth players for roughly a month.
Glad got his first professional minutes of 2017 with the US team during the U-20 World Cup. He scored a goal for the US in the Round of 16 game against New Zealand; ultimately they would win that game 6-0 before losing 2-1 in extra time in the quarterfinals against Venezuela.
Following their World Cup run, the U-20 boys all returned home to their respective teams and Glad fell right back into his starting spot at center back. RSL fans were relieved to finally get their dynasty of a center back again. From the time he returned from the World Cup to the end of the season, Glad started in and played the full 90 minutes of every MLS regular season game RSL had. He helped RSL to nine wins in his 18 games of the 2017 season.
2017 for Glad started pretty low, with a devastating injury, but just rose from there. With helping the US U-20 team win CONCACAF and going to the U-20 World Cup, then coming back to his club team and helping them to turn their season around. Glad has so much potential going forward in his career, based off how he turned his 2017 around.
If history continues to repeat itself, Glad should come back even better than before come 2018. With a full preseason under Mike Petke and some good time to get stronger during this offseason, what we see from Glad could be massive. With the amount of talent he has at such a young age, it is impossible to guess what he can do for RSL and potentially even for US Soccer.