As predicted by many, Real Salt Lake’s made a brace of homegrown signings today as they added former RSL Academy players Tate Schmitt and Erik Holt.
Craig Waibel, from a club-issued release:
“We know that Tate and Erik are players that would be first round selections if they entered the draft. Having the ability to sign both as RSL Academy graduates is another step in following our youth development philosophy while giving both the ability to develop into first team players over time,” Waibel said. “They both had remarkable college careers and we are excited about what the future holds for them here at the club.”
Schmitt is an native of Arizona who played two years at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix before moving to the RSL Academy for his junior and senior years. He then moved on to Louisville where he was named to the All-Freshman team in 2015, the All-ACC Second Team in 2017 as a junior, and finally the All-ACC First Team and ACC Conference Championship MVP in 2018. Relatively small in stature at 5’11” and 160 lbs, he relies upon a clean first touch and his passing ability. During his college career Tate featured as a more of a connector and a second threat up top rather than a lone striker with breakaway speed.
Holt is a native of San Diego and played for San Diego Surf and the RSL Academy before electing to attend UCLA. Erik proved his worth and durability by become a full-time starter for the Bruins by his sophomore season in 2016. Although originally recruited as a central defender he consistently found minutes at defensive midfield and increasingly played in the the center of the field. By his senior season his abilities allowed UCLA to switch to a hybrid three man back line when the ball was in the offensive half with him providing support further up field as a central defensive midfielder before dropping back into the center of the defensive line when the ball was in the defensive half. A First Team All PAC selection in 2017 and 2018. Erik rarely made it past the midfield stripe, but was an integral part of a defense that produced six shutouts and lead the Bruins into the NCAA Championship in 2018.
It is likely that both of these players will see the bulk of their 2018 playing time with Real Monarchs SLC. Schmitt, along with fellow homegrown signing Julian Vazquez. would help to fill the void left by the departure of Chandler Hoffman and Juan Mare. Holt will provide additional support at center back in conjunction with Konrad Plewa, Kalen Ryden and James Moberg as well as at defensive midfielder along with Justin Portillo.