Real Salt Lake’s academy continues to produce some absolutely fantastic young players, and Corey Baird, whose signing was announced today by the club, is no exception.
Baird, who helped push Stanford to a third-consecutive College Cup victory, has been pegged as a prospect at the professional level for multiple years, and his performances in important matches has certainly helped push him along.
In 18 matches in 2017, Baird, 21, scored six goals and earned seven assists playing in a forward role.
In a club-issued press release, RSL general manager Craig Waibel praised Baird as a winner, given his College Cup wins.
“It’s a rare thing for a player to win three college championships, so we are proud of Corey for accomplishing that feat and now we are excited to have that pedigree with our first team,” Waibel said. “He’s a winner and he’s the type of guy we want in our locker room.”
Baird, in the release, said he would work to find opportunities on the field.
“This is an amazing feeling knowing that I’m signing with a team I played with four or five years ago at the Academy,” Baird said. “I’ll be playing with a lot of guys I was playing with then so it will be good to get back on the field with them. I’m going to be working my hardest all the time for an opportunity on the field while trying to contribute as many goals and assists as I can.”
In addition to his fine work at Stanford, Baird has been called up several times for U.S. youth international teams, with his most recent call-up coming in late 2015.
As a forward, Baird provides some depth to a group that includes Alfredo Ortuño and Luis Silva as the primary options. He’ll likely see more time with Real Monarchs, but don’t be surprised if the product of Real Salt Lake’s academy gets opportunities with the first team.