CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – Last week marked the fourth annual Real Salt Lake Pro Combine at Grande Sports World, serving as an opportunity for the Real Salt Lake and Real Monarchs coaches to evaluate players ahead of the upcoming MLS and USL PRO seasons.
“We had the first team staff come down and mix with our academy staff,” said Real Monarchs Head Coach Freddy Juarez. “We were able to run some good sessions, ending up with full-sided matches, which is good to see the players in every situation.”
“It’s good for us as coaches to come down here,” said Real Salt Lake Goalkeeper Coach Daryl Shore, who conducted the combine. “Especially now that we’re adding a USL team for us to try and expand our roster for not only the first team but for the USL team as well.”
Unlike in previous years, the coaches were scouting players for two teams, Real Salt Lake and Real Monarchs, RSL’s USL PRO team that will be coached by Juarez, the former RSL-AZ Academy assistant coach.
“Before, you’re looking for just an MLS player for the first team,” said Juarez. “But now you’re picking for two teams, so you might have someone who has a little more potential but isn’t quite ready for the first team.”
In addition to evaluating players for the MLS and USL PRO teams, a number of Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy players participated in the combine to showcase their skills to the first team staff.
“RSL has probably the best academy in the country in our mind,” said Shore. “So it’s always good for us to come back here and see our academy kids competing and showing what they’ve got.”
The Real Salt Lake and Real Monarchs coaches now continue their preseason preparations, evaluating players at the MLS and Utah combines before returning to Grande Sports World for preseason training from January 25-31.