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2017 Dossier: Jose Hernandez

The RSL academy graduate could be a homegrown star — but he’ll need time to get there first.

MLS: Portland Timbers vs Real Salt Lake USA TODAY Sports

Player name: Jose Hernandez

Position: Midfielder, attacking

Last club: UCLA / Real Salt Lake academy

One thing you need to know

Jose Hernandez is one of those players that came from the academy without some of the hype that we see lofted onto other players. That’s likely due to not being with the U.S. Youth National Team setup — I reckon if he had, he’s be as vaunted a signing as some of the others we’ve made.

What he brings to the team

In the short time we’ve been able to watch Hernandez in preseason, we’ve seen a player that wants to keep possession — and that’s something our midfield has really needed over the last year.

At the same time, he’s also not likely to play many matches initially. He’ll have something to prove first with Real Monarchs. He’ll certainly bring depth to the team, but he’ll also need to bring a desire to compete. I think he’ll have just that.

Why you should be excited

There’s a good reason that Jose Hernandez was signed directly to Real Salt Lake, and that’s because he’s a smart-playing midfielder with good vision — and at his age, that’s a hard thing to come by. Sure, people will underestimate him because of his height, but you know what? That’s just going to be the case for a while. He’ll never be a replacement for Kyle Beckerman.

But if we’re playing the ball on the ground and exercising our will in build-up play, someone like Hernandez could end up being the fulcrum of the team. He’ll need time to develop and grow into responsibilities, but keep your eye on this kid.

Predictions for 2017

  • He’ll get his first RSL game during the summer, and he’ll look good but not overly impressive — reliable, likely.
  • He’ll get a really good run of games for the Monarchs, and we’ll clamor for him to be given first-team opportunities.