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Sandy • Justen Glad finishes his junior year of high school on May 22. But Real Salt Lake's most-recent Arizona-based Academy signee is planning on shifting life in the desert in Casa Grande, Ariz., to life along The Wasatch Front. And quite soon.
Glad reported to RSL for the first time since signing on Thursday.
The 17-year-old Tucson, Ariz., native decided to sign with RSL over playing at Stanford on April 4, but has been tied down with several requirements over the last few weeks. He was with the U.S. U-18 squad for a 10-day training camp in Carson, Calif., then starred with the RSL-AZ Academy side in the Generation adidas Cup in Frisco, Texas. The side lost to English Premier League's Stoke City in the GA Cup final in a penalty-kick shootout.
On Friday afternoon, Glad was running around Rio Tinto Stadium, sporting the No. 14 on his shorts in his second official day of training with the club. Over the last couple weeks, Glad has battled concussion symptoms, but hopes the long wait for officially being in contention ends soon. On top of that, he has to finish school in Arizona, but once that ends, he expects to be in Utah full time.
"It's still just a few days away, but I can taste it," Glad said. "It's fun."
RSL coach Jeff Cassar officially introduced Glad to the team on Thursday at America First Field and said he's excited to see the youngster work toward becoming acclimated, both in the locker room and out.
"We know how he fits in, but his personality is fantastic with the group," Cassar said. "Now it's making sure he's just right with his concussion and things like that. We want to do what's best for him, because he's going to be here a long time. It's definitely good to get him out and get him in a jersey."
A verstaile defender, Glad said one of his first priorities is trying to become established with the team and getting to know players better. He expects the learning curve not to be too steep, but knows there will be a sharp incline in level of play on a full-time basis.
"It'll be a transition, but they're all helping me with the speed of play and stuff, so I think it'll be a good challenge," he said.
Glad said outside of finishing up his junior of high school year next week, he will return to Arizona to play with the RSL Academy for its playoff run: "I'll finish up with those guys, but other than that, I'll be up here full time."
Last year's U.S. Open Cup final will be hard to forget. RSL's 1-0 home loss to D.C. United, the worst team in MLS in 2013, was a gut-punch for the locker room and the fan base and the sting still lingers from last October.
But on Friday, RSL learned its fate for the chase to get back to the Open Cup final.
And the road will go through … the South.
Entering the U.S. Open Cup tournament in the fourth round of play, RSL lost a count flip Friday, leaving the club traveling on the road to face the third-rounder winner of NASL's Atlanta Silverbacks against the NPSL's Chattanooga FC. Atlanta and Chattanooga will face off on May 28, leaving the fourth-round Open Cup scenarios as such:
If Atlanta beats Chattanooga, RSL likely plays the Silverbacks in Atlanta on June 14.
If Chattanooga upsets Atlanta, RSL likely plays in Tennessee on June 18.
The announcement of whether or not the winner of RSL vs. Atlanta/Chattanooga hosts the next round match or hits the road once again will come on May 29. That fifth-round match is slated to be played on June 24.
Anytime you can chip in a goal from 20 yards out just 15 seconds into a match, odds are it'll be noticed. RSL midfielder Javier Morales has been recognized for his 20-yard chip 15 seconds into RSL's 5-2 win at Houston Sunday night by winning the MLS Goal of the Week.
The first goal of Morales' eventual hat trick the first of his career was the fastest goal scored in RSL history and the fourth-fastest in MLS history.