By NICHOLAS MURRAY – firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
After completing his junior season with the University of Louisville, midfielder Andrew Brody had a decision to make.
In the end, he made one that made sense to both his head, and his heart.
One of the offseason additions to Real Monarchs SLC, Brody is excited to begin his journey in the professional ranks, and return to the Real Salt Lake family.
“I think just for my personal development I felt as if I was ready to make the next step, and of course talking to guys like Ricardo Velazco and some other guys that I’ve known from the RSL Academy that are here right now helped me to decide,” Brody said recently. “I felt it was the right time to make the move, and I’m really happy I did, because it’s at a really high level right now, and I already feel like I’m becoming a better player.”
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Brody is one of the recent players to forgo college eligibility to sign with a USL club, following in the footsteps of Velazco and Mikey Ambrose, now with Orlando City B. As the league continues to grow, Brody believes if players such as himself find success, it may open the door to more college players taking a similar route.
“If players see that we’ve had success with it, and end up moving up even farther, then they’ll want to follow,” Brody said. “The players now that have done it are setting the standard for college players now to see if they are willing to do this, if it’s something they want to do, and if they want to follow that dream like me or Ricardo to go for it.”
While decisions like this can be difficult, it was likely made easier for Brody thanks to his relationship with RSL, and in particular Monarchs Head Coach Freddy Juarez. Brody’s former coach in Arizona at the RSL Academy, Juarez oversaw a strong progression for the Monarchs throughout the club’s inaugural season, and Brody is excited to play for him again.
“I think he understands us on a personal level,” Brody said. “He understands where we’re coming from and how we want to grow as players. He understands our dreams and our goals. Obviously he knows a lot of these players from the academy, so he knows what we’ve been through, he knows our strengths and weaknesses, and every single day in practice he tries to make us better and make us the player that we want to be.”
As one of the first teams to open preseason camp, the Monarchs have been working for the past two months to build on a remarkable conclusion to the 2015 season that saw the side win five consecutive games. In addition to training on home turf, the club also took a two-week trip to Costa Rica designed to help the team come together on and off the field.
“The competition was really great down there, and I think we showed well,” Brody said. “We showed what we can do, and now we know that’s what we’re capable of, and that’s the standard we need to hold ourselves accountable to every single day in training and then when the season comes.
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“I think going to Costa Rica for two weeks helped the team chemistry a lot,” he added. “For the new guys, like me, getting to know the players off the field should translate on the field. It was definitely really beneficial, and I’m glad I was part of it and experienced it.”
After watching a lot of the Monarchs’ contests last season, Brody is now aiming to help the side at least maintain if not exceed the level it found at the end of last season. With a good core of players coming back, Brody says the club has its sights set on a playoff berth.“That’s something we’ve been working for since we set foot here January 8,” Brody said. “With the way they finished the season last year, they set the standard for the team this year, and I think the sky’s the limit. We’ve been working hard. We’re getting there with the couple more preseason games that we have. Hopefully we’ll get to the level we want to be at for the start of the season and hopefully get a run of results that will lead us to the playoffs.”