In 2018, Damir Kreilach exceeded expectations and dominated the field for Real Salt Lake throughout the entire season. What was expected was a decent player with experience who could fill a role in a midfield that had a lot of questions about its future. What RSL ended getting was a leader who seemed to have untapped qualities all the way to the top field.
He started the season playing deep as a counterpart to Kyle Beckerman in a defensive midfield position, hesitant to push too far forward. He seemed to be a perfect fit. But it soon became all too apparent that he had skills with his vision of the field and reading of the game to venture further and further up the field as the season went on.
By the end of the season Kreilach had pushed himself all the way up the spine of the team to the point of the attack, scoring highlight-worthy goals and winning do-or-die games for the club.
Scoring 12 goals, notching eight assists, and appearing in every game but one in the regular season, he became a fan and club favorite, as the highest rated player among RSL Soapbox contributors and voted by the Real Salt Lake organization itself as its 2018 Most Valuable Player.
Great players always are around and constantly come and go, but to me what really makes his presence so special is Damir Kreilach himself, as a person. A genuine personality with true caring and kindness. From personal experience in the media and countless stories from fan encounters out and about the Salt Lake valley in such places like the local grocery store, there is not one instance where Kreilach wasn’t anything but approachable and pleasant. The kind of experience that wins the hearts and minds of the claret and cobalt faithful.
This is the kind of player you want playing on the team you love: a talented and dependable player on the field, a respected veteran in the locker room, and a friendly smile at the local deli counter. I have nothing but excitement to see where Damir Kreilach goes in his career and what we he can bring to the future of soccer in the state of Utah. A future that I hope we can all agree is a long one for Real Salt Lake. Thank you for a great season Dami.