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Developing Royalty: The top five all-time Real Monarchs players

We look at the best to wear the Monarchs shirt over the past two years.

Spoiler Alert: This guy’s on the list.
John Engels

Over the short two year history of Real Monarchs SLC, a wide variety of players have worn the crest. Whether that be main-roster Monarchs, trialists, or even RSL first-teamers, many have come and gone.

With the 2017 season fast approaching, we’ve decided to take a look back and attempt to hand pick the best and brightest.

But first, a quick qualifier. I’ve limited this to players who appeared for the Monarchs a minimum of 10 times. (Before screaming at me in the comments, Justen Glad only made 8 appearances for the Monarchs. We all know he’s great and would definitely be on this list otherwise.)

First up...

The Honorable Mentions

A lot of very proficient players have spent time in the squad, so it’s only fair to recognize some that just barely missed out on the top five. Tyler Arnone, Alec Sundly, Eric Osswald, Lucas Baldin, and Andrew Brody could have easily made this a top ten list, but the choice to limit it to five leaves them up in this section. (Sorry guys, I still think you’re great.)

5. Maikon Orellana

John Engels

Born in El Salvador, Orellana spent time at Brondby in Denmark and Alianza in El Salvador before landing with Real Monarchs for the inaugural season. He began his playing career at the RSL-AZ Academy, and has also appeared for the El Salvadorian National Team. Aside from being a proficient (fire) rapper, he also proved himself proficient in the beautiful game, contributing 7 goals over his two seasons with the club. Among those was a late stoppage-time game winner in the 2016 season opener against Saint Louis FC.

4. Max Rauhofer

Beginning his professional career at the age of 14, the Uruguayan landed at Real Monarchs in April of 2015, ten years later. He tallied nine goals in 17 appearances, including one in his debut match — a 2-5 loss away at Colorado Springs. Toward the end of his spell in Salt Lake, Max also showed a fiery temper, when he tried to fistfight the entirety of the OC Blues — a club he later spent part of the 2016 season at, scoring a further three USL goals in 7 appearances.

3. Lalo Fernandez

John Engels

Hailing from Mexico, Eduardo “Lalo” Fernandez has already been a household name with Real Salt Lake fans since having signed with the club back in 2012. With the establishment of the Monarchs, he quickly settled in as the #1 keeper for the team. Lalo enjoyed his breakout season with the Monarchs in 2016, where he earned USL Player of the Week honors in late June, while also amassing various Rimando-esque acrobatic save highlights. He begins 2017 as the current #1 for the Monarchs once again, and could very well see some minutes with the first team following the departure of Jeff Attinella in the 2017 expansion draft.

2. Emery Welshman

MLS: Preseason-Real Salt Lake vs Sporting Kansas City Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Canadian-born Guayanese international Emery Welshman was drafted 16th overall in 2012 by Toronto FC before landing in SLC for the inaugural 2015 season. Emery enjoyed a very positive 2015, which saw him find the back of the net 6 times in 19 appearances for the Monarchs. Following the fruitful 2015 campaign, he found himself signing a well-deserved contract with the first team at Real Salt Lake. Unfortunately, hip injury issues sidelined the player for the entirety of the 2016 MLS season, where he made three appearances for the Monarchs during an attempted recovery. Currently, Emery is mostly recovered and is with RSL for the preseason; however, he is currently unsigned.

1. Ricardo Velazco

John Engels

Born in Casa Grande, AZ, Velazco has spent a large chunk of his playing career within the Real Salt Lake system. Beginning at the RSL-AZ Academy, he’s been a standout everywhere he’s taken the pitch thus far. Following his time at the Academy, Ricardo spent time at Cal State Bernardino and Louisville, along with a few years with FC Tucson - scoring 11 goals in 30 appearances and receiving PDL Young Player of the Year honors in 2014. 2015 saw him sign with the Monarchs, where he tallied 10 goals and 10 assists in 47 appearances over two seasons, often captaining the team.

Following the breakout season with the Monarchs and a fantastic showing in a friendly with RSL against Inter Milan, the tail end of 2016 brought an RSL first team contract for the explosive midfielder. Back in January, Velazco (along with teammate Justen Glad) was honored at FC Tucson Legends of Soccer Night.

That’s our list. Agree? Disagree vehemently? Have any thoughts on who could crack into this list this coming season? Let’s hear it in the comments!