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2018 Dossiers: Corey Baird

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Baird presents an enticing option for RSL coach Mike Petke in 2018, but he’ll need minutes to prove it.

NCAA Soccer: Men's College Cup-Stanford vs Wake Forest Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

A new arrival for 2018, Corey Baird is a graduate of Real Salt Lake’s academy, a three-time College Cup winner, and a flexible attacking player. What role will he play for RSL in 2018?

What to know

Baird’s Stanford education was probably nice, but winning three College Cups in four years has to be even nicer. It’s a rare feat for any school in most sports, and that certainly demands some special recognition.

Beyond that, Baird is somewhat of a multipurpose player. He’s been a wide player, a central forward, and a midfielder, and he’s still early in his career. He’s also one of several academy players on the team, and he joins Aaron Herrera in making the jump from college to RSL this year.

What to expect in 2018

There is always — always — a transition period from the college game to MLS for a player, and the real differentiating factor is how long that period really becomes. I’d expect Baird to get minutes here and there, barring a major injury to one or more players, it’s hard to see how he’ll get regular minutes with the first team. Could he be a good option for Real Monarchs? That’ll be a major question to answer in 2018.

What to hope for

While you never hope for injuries to your own team, here’s hoping that Baird can earn regular minutes at some point and put his mark on the team. A few goals, too, would be nice — and I actually don’t think it’s unreasonable to think he could grab three or four this year without much trouble.