Former Real Salt Lake defender Ian Joy has never really been one to shy away from his opinions in a public forum — it’s part of what makes him great.
These days, it’s become rare that he speaks too much about Real Salt Lake. He’s focused heavily on other things now — like the Bundesliga, which he helps cover on Fox Sports.
But he’s still very much connected to Real Salt Lake — not just in the typical “yeah, I used to play there” way. If his tweets today are any indication, he’s still passionate about the club, their identity, and what it means to have been part of Real Salt Lake.
Without too much further ado, his tweets today:
@RealSaltLake is such a beautiful, passionate, energetic Soccer club! Winning should be in the veins. Hurts to see this downward spiral.— IAN PAUL JOY (@JOYPAULIAN) March 21, 2017
It’s not too hard to see where Joy’s coming from in this case. It’s a question many have had and voiced. Of course, we’ll probably never know all the details in this one — RSL general manager Craig Waibel doesn’t like to shout his gossip in the papers. It may have been his decision, it may not have been. He’d certainly tell us that it was not a decision made on its own. Three games does seem short, doesn’t it? But that’s not a decision we’re privy to, so let’s move on, leaving Joy’s thoughts to germinate.
There we go! This is interesting and something we can think concretely about. Nat Borchers. Head coach, Nat Borchers. It sounds nice, doesn’t it? It fits some of the criteria that Waibel set out for a candidate. When asked about some of the important factors in considering a coach, he cited “somebody that aligns closely with our vision” and some other factors:
While I won’t share all of the details and exactly how I view those, it’s definitely going to be somebody that aligns very closely with our vision and identifies with our fanbase and understands what’s important to our organization and our fanbase.
It’s easy to see how somebody like Borchers would fit that criteria, and how he’d do it more closely and acutely than somebody who might look toward big-name players, a veteran-only approach, or the like. Just think — the likes of Justen Glad being mentored by the man who is basically a time-traveling version of Glad himself?
@f4denz This club needs passion! Needs familiarity & identity. The fans deserve it. It is a club that should be on top! Frustrating to see.— IAN PAUL JOY (@JOYPAULIAN) March 21, 2017
Hear, hear. Joy has the pulse of the fanbase not because he listens to us particularly well (he might, of course, but that’s not the cause.) He understands the needs of the club precisely because he became a part of it, and even if his stay was relatively short, he made a connection.
To see players leave and not really look back? That becomes difficult to swallow. I’d much rather have a player like Joy, who came, tackled a lot, left — and became a part of our history and identity. Sure, being at RSL in 2008 meant he could influence the identity more, simply because it wasn’t as established. But having a coach who embodies that identity would be huge.
Maybe that’s Nat Borchers. Maybe it’s not. Whatever the case, it might be nice to have a chance to find out.