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Real Monarchs return only three 2020 veterans

Team changing focus to provide better opportunity for academy based players

Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

Real Monarchs have re-signed veteran defender James Moberg to a new two-year contract and exercised options on goalkeeper Jimmy Slayton and midfielder Sam Brown. These three will be the only players signed to full USL contracts for the 2021 season, the remaining roster spots will fluctuate with a combination of loan downs from Real Salt Lake and call ups from the Academy.

“This new way of thinking is in large part due to the massive work our scouting team has done to find and identify young international talent that we believe has the potential to develop and rise to the MLS level, which is something RSL has historically had success with — finding young, undervalued talent and providing them a place to grow and flourish,” Real Salt Lake Assistant General Manager Tony Beltran said. “Then being able to compliment them on either side with veteran leadership from our first team and exceptional rising talent in our academy allows us to provide a space for our athletes, at every level, to have the chance to gain experience and become accomplished which benefits us as a club in the long term.”

Despite making drastic changes to the mentality and structure of the Monarchs winning will remain a priority while allowing success to be measured in more than just wins and losses and trophies. Is the team seeing players make the jump into the top league each season? Are players making a big enough splash to warrant international looks? Is the academy promoting players at a more efficient level and is it attracting more talent into the fold?

The flexibility that this approach allows the Monarchs should allow the club to give opportunities to all academy players when are most ready and at any point during the season. Those coming up from the academy may see playing time consistently throughout the season, or a late bloomer may impress with just a few games left, but the overall purpose remains to advance each individual at a pace that is right for them and sets them up for optimal success.