With the physical decline of Kyle Beckerman the RSL midfield was in need of an enforcer at the beginning of 2019. Someone who was fast enough to move horizontal to cover both touchlines and shield the defense.
Everton Luiz was a somewhat unknown commodity when Craig Waibel signed him to a loan at the beginning of the season. There was promise given that he was coming from Serie A, having played for SPAL. There was some hesitation as he had played for 11 clubs in a 10 year career, including 4 loans previous to the RSL loan. Whatever hesitation the fanbase may have had about him, it quickly evaporated as he won RSL fans over with his passion, skill and work rate. Clearly the RSL front office has no concerns about him either as they have decided to make his loan permanent via a transfer from SPAL to RSL for the long term.
Luiz finished the season somewhat disharmoniously when he was sent off for a crunching two-footed tackle against Seattle in the playoffs. This raised the ire of some national media folks who took offense to Luiz’s tackle and style of play. Despite the abrupt end to his 2019 he still did more than enough to earn Real Salt Lake’s Most Valuable Player award for the season, as voted by the staff and his teammates.
Everton featured in 27 games this last season, starting in 24 of them. He finished first on the team in tackles with a whopping 72, 9 tackles ahead of 2nd place. Keep in mind that this is despite missing 7 games due to an injury. Barring any injury, you can expect Luiz to once again compete for the most tackles and possibly most minutes played in 2020.
While the status of Kyle Beckerman’s contract has us all curious and concerned, knowing that we have a capable replacement gives us some solace if Beckerman decides to hang up his boots next year. Luiz has proven he can be a foundation piece of RSL for years to come.