The arrival of Taylor Peay at Real Salt Lake seemed, at the time, like it was a player coming home.
In a sense, it was. Peay didn’t train at Real Salt Lake’s academy — he was simply born too early for that. He did, however, play his high school soccer at Brighton High in the greater Salt Lake area, then he went on to a successful college career at University of Washington.
His professional career took him to Portland Timbers, who drafted him out of college. He went on to just seven appearances there, only four of which were starts, during his three years.
With that path clearly not being one that was seeing Peay being given chances, he brought his talents back to the Salt Lake valley — this time, playing in USL with Real Monarchs. With that came minutes, and he established himself as a valuable defensive piece there.
Playing in multiple positions along the back line is always a valuable asset for a professional, and it was perhaps that trait that opened a door for him at Real Salt Lake.
But just as soon as he walked through that door, he fell victim to an injury that kept him out for most of 2018’s preseason and a good chunk of the season until the summer. He went on to make just one appearance for Real Salt Lake: a one-minute appearance in a desperate 2-2 draw against Colorado Rapids. (You know — the 45-minute weather delay match at Rio Tinto.)
From there, he didn’t appear again. In the end, he was on the bench for Real Salt Lake twice in 2018.
Following the expiry of the 2018 season, Peay’s contract option was declined. He has since signed at Louisville City FC, where he’s joined by former Real Monarchs player-turned-assistant coach Danny Cruz, who serves under coach John Hackworth.
It’s a shame, really, that Peay’s story at Real Salt Lake wasn’t more positive. His arrival made for a fantastic story. Instead, we’ll be watching from afar, hoping he puts the injuries behind him and can turn heads in USL yet again.