Monday, February 23, 2009

Homegrown Talent: Utahns Drafted

Last season Justin Braun grabbed national attention by getting invited to Chivas USA camp by non other than the manager of Chivas himself, Preki. The former Skyline High School standout made the most of his opportunity to impress, earning a consistent spot in the Chivas lineup and even scoring for the Red-and-White in the playoffs - ironically against Real Salt Lake.

Every time I saw something on Braun I thought there had to be other Utah-based players playing beyond their high school careers. Those thoughts have lead me to watch for exceptional players from the state.

The folks over at the Utah Youth Soccer Association have made the initial search quite easy with their recent story on three former UYSA players who were drafted in this years Major League Soccer and Womens Professional Soccer drafts. As I like to consider myself a gentleman, we'll start with the ladies first.

Katie Larkin, Los Angeles Sol

An All-American standout at Brigham Young University, Draper native Katie Larkin was the 19th selection in the first WPS Draft. The Los Angelos Sol picked up the Midfielder/Forward who was a Hermann Trophy candidate her senior season at BYU. Larkin was also in the US National Team Player Pool from 2002-2004. Among her teammates in Los Angelos will be three-time FIFA Women's Player of the Year Marta.

Larkin also holds several offensive records from her days at Alta High, where she also received NSCAA High School State Player of the Year honors in 2004.

(Photo courtesy of Geoffrey McAllister)

Allison Martino, Boston Breakers

Another Alta graduate was also taken in the WPS Draft. Allison Martino headed south after high school to play in the Big XII with Texas A&M. Playing in one of the nation's toughest conferences for women's soccer, Martino stood out as one of the top talents in the conference earning All-Big XII honors her senior season in 2007.

Following her days as an Aggie, Martino spent 2008 playing for the Boston Renegades of MassPremierSoccer. It appears that she won't be needing to move as she was picked up by the Boston Breakers.

(photo courtesy of Texas A&M)

Kyle Christensen, Chivas USA

Following a standout career at Layton High School, Kyle Christensen jumped over the Rocky Mountains to continue his playing career at the University of Denver. Christensen capped his extremely successfull college career by leading the Pioneers to the school's first ever Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title in 2008, as well as DU's first appearance in the NCAA tournament. His efforts led Christensen to receive MPSF Player of the Year honors in that same season.

While at the University of Denver Christensen did not play during the 2005 and 2006 seasons while he served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during that time.

Christensen also played two seasons with the Ogden Outlaws, of the Premier Development Leauge. While with the PDL side, he netting 10 goals and 4 assists in 20 games.

Preseason has already started for Chivas USA and Christensen has wasted no time making in impression, as he has already found his way on the scoresheet for the Goats. The Layton native scored the fifth and final goal in the Red-and-White's 5-1 trouncing of Shandong Luneng Taishan F.C. of the Chinese Super League.

(photo courtesy of University of Denver)

Hat tip to @RSLSoccerPod

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Online Jersey Auction for Marcia Williams on Saturday

In a written release posted Friday, Real Salt Lake announced that authentic match jerseys from this Wednesday’s USA-Mexico World Cup Qualifier will launch the online memorabilia auction on behalf of Soccer Unites Utah. The auction begins tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 14. All proceeds will go directly to Soccer Unites Utah, a grass roots charitable group raising funds to offset medical costs for Marcia Williams – the wife of RSL MF Andy Williams – who has waged a fight against a rare form of Leukemia since being diagnosed with the disease last summer.

The shirts from Wednesday’s contest include a U.S. team-autographed Brad Guzan goalkeeper kit and the #17 jersey of one of Mexico’s most electrifying young stars, Giovani dos Santos. The pair of items augment an already impressive selection of player-worn MLS jerseys and an autographed 2008 Olympic match ball signed by the US Mens Olympic team.

"Beginning tomorrow, RSL and Soccer Unites Utah will put up two items a day for auction on eBay, with each piece separately available for bidding for seven days. Real Salt Lake’s official team blog, Behind the Shield – found online at – will preview each jersey the day before they appear for auction and will also provide direct links to the eBay pages where the auctions will be housed," said the written statement from RSL.

Fore more information on helping out Marcia and others with Leukemia by coming a bone marrow donor, head over to for more on what it means to be a bone marrow donor or visit for more ways in which you can help assist the Williams family.

The full schedule of items included in the Real Salt Lake/Soccer Unites Utah memorabilia auction follows: Saturday, Feb. 14: Brad Guzan – U.S. MNT #18 (yellow GK, L/S) – autographed by full U.S. MNT Giovani dos Santos – Mexican National Team #17 (away / green, L/S) Sunday, Feb. 15: Freddy Adu – D.C. United #9 (away / white, L/S) – autographed Landon Donovan – Los Angeles Galaxy #10 (2005 home / gold) Monday, Feb. 16: Tim Howard – MetroStars #18 (orange GK, L/S) Chris Henderson – Colorado Rapids #19 (home / black & blue) Tuesday, Feb. 17: Cobi Jones – Los Angeles Galaxy #13 (warm-up top / gold) Clint Mathis – MetroStars #13 (home / red & black) Wednesday, Feb. 18: Youri Djorkaeff – New York Red Bulls (2006 home / red) Steve Ralston – New England Revolution #14 (home / blue) Thursday, Feb. 19: Ronnie O’Brien – Dallas Burn #6 (home / red, L/S) – autographed Tab Ramos – MetroStars #10 (home / red & black) Friday, Feb. 20: Mamadou Diallo – MetroStars #15 (away / black & white) Eddie Pope – Real Salt Lake #23 (2005 away / white) Saturday, Feb. 21: Chris Armas – Chicago Fire #14 (2005 home / red) John Harkes – New England Revolution #6 (away / white) Sunday, Feb. 22: Marco Etcheverry – D.C. United #10 (home / black) Amado Guevara – MetroStars #20 (home / red & black) Monday, Feb. 23: Dwayne De Rosario – San Jose Earthquakes #14 (home / blue) Jason Kreis – Real Salt Lake #9 (2006 away / white) – autographed Tuesday, Feb. 24: Cobi Jones – Los Angeles Galaxy #13 (white / away) – autographed Preki – Kansas City Wizards #11 (away / white) Wednesday, Feb. 25: Carlos Bocanegra – Chicago Fire #4 (2003 home / red) Chris Henderson – Miami Fusion F.C. #19 (2001 away / white) Thursday, Feb. 26: Jeff Agoos – San Jose Earthquakes #12 (2004 away / white) Pablo Mastroeni – Colorado Rapids #25 (home / black & blue) Friday, Feb. 27: U.S. Olympic Team autographed 2008 Beijing Summer Games match ball Andy Williams – New England Revolution #7 (away / white) – autographed

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Watch the US-Mex WCQ on the Ginormus Screen

Real Salt Lake is looking to create the state's biggest watch party for next Wednesday's border battle between the United States and Mexico. Sources have told Desert Crown that the club has rented out one of the theaters at Jordan Commons, across the State Street from Rio Tinto Stadium, for fans to come and watch the biggest match of the opening round of the CONCACAF Hexagonal!

The United State and Mexico will take to the icy pitch of Columbus Crew Stadium on Wednesday, February 11. From what we're told, those who would like to gather at Jordan Commons to watch the match on a theater-sized screen need to, "pick up a voucher from our offices or the RSL store (sat). Redeem the voucher for ticket @ theatre." (RSLSoccerPod)

Sounds like a great opportunity to watch the match with a few hundred of your closest friends, no matter which team you're supporting!

- thanks to RSLSoccerPod for the tip.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Questions about Escalada

Out of all the incoming additions to the Real Salt Lake roster Argentine striker Luis Escalada seems to be generating the most attention. And, rightfully so. As mentioned in our last post RSL has seen an exodus of forwards fleeing the mountains with little sign of replenishment from the team. That is until head coach Jason Kreis was seen in South America scouting Escalada.

Thanks to the always diligent coverage from the folks over at we've learned in the last week that Kreis was able to secure the talents of the 22-year-old striker.

From all accounts he sounds like a provent scoring threat. During 2006-2007, while playing in Ecuador, Escalada's stats show that he was a goal scoring machine. What concerns me a little is that when he was loaned out to teams in the Brazilian and Argentine leagues his goal scoring output dropped off dramatically. During his two years in Ecuador Escalada scored 45 goals, but while he hopped between clubs in 2008 he only mustered a pair for all of 2008.

So what happened? Were the Argentine and Brazilian leagues to much for him? Did he get hurt? He didn't exactly get a lot of opportunities at the varies clubs he spent time with last year. Maybe he didn't have enough time to settle in with the team. Was there something outside of soccer that was affecting his play? These are honest questions, as I don't read spanish very well.

While contemplating these questions enjoy this highlight reel of Escalada during his year at Club Sport Emelec. If my math is right, he is only 20 in these videos, and he's only 22 now. So, his youthfullness can be a very good thing.

What say you?

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