The 2017 season was one for the books, as Real Salt Lake fielded some of its youngest players in starting roles all season long. One of those bright spots was none other than 20-year-old forward Brooks Lennon, who had a year he may never forget.
Hailing from Paradise Valley, Arizona, and coming up through the RSL Academy, Lennon has been a prodigy from the get-go. After leaving the academy, he signed with Premier League giants Liverpool in 2015 and began playing for their U-23 team, where he notched three goals and one assist through 19 appearances with the Reds. As we all know, RSL secured Lennon for the 2017 on a loan deal from Liverpool.
A loan deal that has since expired, with no official news quite yet about a permanent move to Utah.
In Salt Lake, Lennon added to the attacking depth and had the opportunity to make 25 appearances this year, and scored himself three goals while tallying two assists. He’s no stranger to scoring goals, as he’s been a mainstay in the US Soccer youth program, playing with the U-17, U-18, and most recently the U-20 team where he lead the squad to a CONCACAF championship, as well as advancing to the quarter finals of the 2017 U-20 World Cup. Overall, Brooks has scored 15 goals in a USA uniform through 27 caps, while seven of those goals have come with the U-20 team alongside his RSL teammates Bofo Saucedo, Justen Glad, and Danny Acosta.
On top of all that, he was also named to the 2017 MLS Homegrown Team roster over the all-star break this summer along with Justen Glad.
So what’s next for Lennon? No permanent deal has been announced yet, but there have been reports citing RSL has been working hard to try and get him back for good next season, but that can’t be an easy feat. He still has time left on his contract with Liverpool — about six months — and I’m sure it wouldn’t be a cheap transfer fee if RSL were to buy him outright from the Premier League side. It might be a smarter move to wait until his contract is up, then grab him on a free transfer and avoid any chance of having to make him a DP or TAM player. In addition, it’s safe to say that he won’t be starting ahead of Jefferson Savarino or Joao Plata anytime soon on the wings, and Mike Petke hasn’t seemed to want to play him at the center forward position, a slot that RSL also needs to beef up in the offseason. A large transfer fee for a depth player — albeit a great depth player with virtually unlimited potential — might not be something GM Craig Waibel is looking to do at the moment.
Of course, if they were to wait until his contract runs out, they’d run the risk of some other club coming in and making him an offer he can’t refuse, and that’s absolutely something we don’t want.
Regardless, Brooks Lennon has a bright future ahead of him for both club and country, no matter where he lands next season. We’re all just hoping that Salt Lake ends up being his home for good — or at least for the foreseeable future.