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Mike Petke on why RSL released players for U-20 World Cup

Real Salt Lake’s youth movement has an advocate in its coach.

MLS: FC Dallas at Real Salt Lake Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Petke didn’t just allow Real Salt Lake’s four U-20 stars go the tournament — he celebrated it.

Petke laid out his reasons for wanting Danilo Acosta, Justen Glad, Sebastian Saucedo and Brooks Lennon to feature in FIFA U-20 World Cup in an interview on ESPN 700 tonight.

“To me, for these young kids, experience is the biggest thing,” Petke said. “To go over and play international soccer at the highest level at the age group — I’d rather them go there and us suffer a little bit, because it’s going to benefit us in the long run. The experience they gain from that and bring back to RSL is invaluable to us.

“You can’t deny these kids experience they worked for ... we put a huge emphasis on youth development here. That is a huge part of development.”

The release of Justen Glad may be one of the more controversial aspects of the release, but Pekte made it clear there were conditions on his involvement with the U-20 squad.

“We released him with a protocol we know will be followed,” he said. “It was all about the experience — continue his recovery and come back a better player.”

And as for the results that might suffer — and have suffered — without those players? Mike Petke isn’t backing down.

“If we need them at 19-years-old and we are that desperate, we’re not in a good spot,” he said. “Now, you could look at results, but my point is for a long-term thing.”