It will come as a surprise to nobody that I’m likely to describe Tony Beltran as my favorite Real Salt Lake player of the last decade.
Certainly, part of that is for his play. He was a reliable right back for a good decade at the club, even if he wasn’t a brilliant attacking option. He was a good teammate, by all accounts. He eruditely represented the club in the public sphere. He was, and remains, one of the smartest people in the room at any given time.
It’s for those reasons that I’m extremely pleased that he’s being given the opportunity to continue his positive impact and influence at Real Salt Lake.
There’s a certain sadness inevitable in writing Beltran’s final player profile. His impact on the field was nearly non-existent, with an attempt at a return from a significant injury ultimately ending unsuccessfully.
It really underscores the severity of the injury that Beltran, one of the hardest working and most diligent players RSL has seen, hasn’t been able to return. It’s not like he was a player with a long history of major injuries. It was one moment — one hit with no positive value on the field — that saw Beltran felled. That one moment, 28 minutes into a match near the end of a season against a team with no chance at the playoffs, ended Beltran’s playing career.
And so this player profile has nothing to say about his play on the field in 2019. It has nothing to say about the same in 2018. There’s nothing to say, really.
But in 2019, we saw Beltran on the bench in a somewhat unspecified role, likely as a makeshift assistant coach. That came largely under Freddy Juarez following the firing of Mike Petke. It may have also been following a realization that his playing career was done. Whatever the impetus, it became clear that he was at least being considered for a future role inside the organization.
Following the completion of the season, Beltran was announced as an assistant general manager at Real Salt Lake. He’ll be working alongside Elliot Fall, and his focus is set to be on player identification, player management, that sort of thing.
As for his future with the organization, RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen has a clear vision for Beltran.
“Tony will be — one day — a great general manager or executive vice president,” Hansen said during the press conference announcing the hiring of Juarez and Fall. “We just want to make sure he grows within his ladder.”