Well friends, here we are mere hours away from first kick and as it currently stands our roster is sitting at a bulky 31 headcount. We’ve had a wild roller-coaster ride of a silly season and from the looks of it, things seem to have shaped up real nicely for Real Salt Lake. Let’s dive in and break down what has become the most exciting month of the off-season.
February 06, 2020 - Jeizon Ramirez Chacón joins Real Salt Lake
With rumors of a reported move to Brazil by Jefferson Savarino littered all over the socials it was easy to skip over the rumblings of the 18 year old Venezuelan Jeizon Ramirez eyeing the claret and cobalt. A day before the reported Jefferson departure would become official, the club announces a young designated player deal with the uprising star. Reports of the young star cancelling an all but final contract with the Greek club ‘Asteras Tripolis’ for more money and a better opportunity reminded us all of how we were once that club who was played by a professional footballer. We honestly have no clue how well he’ll fit in and how good he is, but Freddy seems to be excited and that has me very excited. Welcome Jeizon!
February 07, 2020 - Até logo Jefferson
Early on in January we started to catch wind that a club in the Serie A Brazilian league was interested in our beloved Sava. And much to a large majority of the fan base, this became a reality on February 07. The club announced that the deal was done and that the young Venezuelan international, whom the club helped develop into the athlete he is today, was going to be spending the next few years of his career with the team Atlético Mineiro. There were quite a few mixed feelings on the twitters about this advancement and let me set some of those who’ve found this to be ‘the clubs biggest mistake in history’ completely straight. You are wrong. 1.) Sava had a rough time, personally, in SLC during the arrival of his new born child. His family wasn’t able to acquire the travel rights to come see their newest family member and being able to do what you love, closer to the ones you love, just makes sense. Imagine just never having your family see your kids. You most likely wouldn’t allow that in your life and soccer players are humans just like you. 2.) Sava has a lot of years left in him, and potentially could be sold on for a lot of money elsewhere in the world and guess what, we negotiated into his contract is a cool 40% sell on clause. 3.) We get 2M for the young attacker over the next 3 years which means we’ll start to see our pockets grow into more talent. This one was a win-win. We are in the business of developing and selling players for our benefit and for the benefit of the players. Let’s not go thinking we lost a Javier Morales to a conference rival or something. Sava did his time, we will get good money for him in the future, and he will get to play soccer around those whom he loves most. Next!
February 10, 2020 - More homegrown magic
Just days after the 2020 home kit reveal and before the boys loaded up for Arizona for their stint of trainings and matches before the season starts, we catch wind that the 17 year old El Paso native Chris Garcia is about to receive his first team contract. Shortly after these rumors became official, the club broke the news. This is a really big moment for the club. We are poised to be one of the top teams in the league in terms of developing young talent. Chris truly has been impressing the old guard at camp this winter, and we can’t wait to see this young all-star in the making get his debut this year. Expect to see quite a few min on the pitch w/ the Monarchs this year for young Chris, and keep an eye out on his progress over the coming months. This one could turn into an all-time signing for the club very quickly. Either we get a rockstar player out of him, or he develops well enough to be sold over seas and I cannot wait to find out which of these two positive outcomes unfolds for the young buck.
February 11, 2020 - The club announces Justin Meram
After a few weeks of speculation, beat reporters confirming and double confirming that Justin Meram and RSL were all but finishing up a deal (one that I predicted back in early January when talks first came out that he was available on the market) we finally got news that the Israeli/Iraqi dual citizen international star would be officially joining the RSL squad ahead of their 2020 campaign. Not only do I think this is one of the most interesting signings of the off-season, it could, very well become one of the highest impact signings in club’s last 10 years. Time will be the only way to tell for sure how well Meram is able to perform for this side.
Edit - Meram ripped off a goal in the final preseason match confirming he still has what it takes to do goals.
February 13, 2020 - Luke, will you be my valentine?
In a turn of seemingly unexpected events, the club offered a new deal for the British veteran Luke Mulholland . We knew that Luke was still training with the club and had seen him on the socials for pretty much the entirety of the pre-season. This is one of those signings that I’m not very excited about. The injury prone 31-year-old Preston native simply hasn’t seen minutes or been able to break into the first team for quite some time. Luke is one of those players that the fans absolutely adore and he is a great locker room guy. I do believe that he’s sharp as a tack and is a pleasant person to be around. However, if you put all of that aside, you can see past the emotional connection to facts, he’s not a starter for the first team side. He’s injury prone, and has a knack for putting us into precarious situations as a club. He’s actually really good at the USL level and we’ll hopefully get a chance to see more Luke in Herriman rather than Sandy. That is if he can stay healthy (rumor has it he’s already injured).
February 27, 2020 - Pepito official
After a long pre-season and having a few opportunities to see the Manchester United on the training pitch doing some amazing things, news broke that a signing with the Italian-American international superstar Giuseppe Rossi was official. Reports in the social media sphere has all but confirmed that this signing was inevitable, however, we as fans wanted to see it officially announced by the club and were anxiously awaiting. Let’s talk for a min about some of the things that concern us about Rossi. I’d be naive not to address the concerns of age, health and the fact that for some reason he betrayed the US by joining the Italian international side (who wouldn’t if they could right?). I think the biggest concern for me would’ve been in treating this signing in terms of DP money but reports indicate that we got him on a steal. I for one think that this is the biggest upgrade to our roster since, well forever. I cannot wait to see what this does for the club. He will score goals or assist in the scoring of goals and he’s already stepping in as a mentor for our young talent. Rossi is a superstar with a lot left in the tank and will improve our team drastically for 2020!
Sometimes it’s really easy for us to look at this organization and point fingers as fans. Sometimes, we as fans, don’t know what the hell we’re talking about. Either way, we have a cool opportunity here to look back on what the front office has been up to this season and appreciate that effort just a little bit. Now, let’s see how this team does this season. It’ll be fun to see some old faces (the fact that Justen Glad is now considered a team veteran still blows my mind) return to the pitch, mixed with some promising new talent. I do believe this is the most dynamic squad that has ever been put together in the history of the club. And I do believe this is a squad that can compete. Time will only tell. Do you agree or disagree? Comment below and let us know your thoughts!
This is the final installment of a three part series. If you missed out on part one and part two check them out. We hope you enjoyed this breakdown of all the events that have taken place this off-season.