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In late January, Real Salt Lake general manager Garth Lagerwey said the day was not-so-far away when Real Salt Lake would sign its first Homegrown player out of the Beehive State. He sat at the table inside his hotel room in Casa Grande, Ariz., staring out at the club's residential academy in the desert and guaranteed a Utah player would be part of the first team within three years.
It ended up taking seven months.
A source informed The Salt Lake Tribune Thursday afternoon that RSL signed 17-year-old Park City resident Sebastian "Bofo" Saucedo to a Homegrown contract. Saucedo becomes the eighth Homegrown product signed by RSL in the club's history and becomes the third Homegrown product signed within the last eight months along with midfielder Jordan Allen (signed on Dec. 31, 2013) and defender Justen Glad (signed on April 4). The contract becomes effective Jan. 1, 2015, so he won't be added to the active roster unless RSL cut or traded a player to create room for a roster spot.
Saucedo is now the sixth Homegrown player on the RSL roster along with Allen, Glad, Benji Lopez, Lalo Fernandez and Carlos Salcedo. Having been a dynamic player at Grande Sports Academy which has now churned out 13 professional players in Arizona since the beginning of the 2012-2013 season, Saucedo has been a regular in U.S. youth national team teams and camps. Most recently, Saucedo started in three matches for the U.S. U-18's in the 20th Lisbon International Tournament in June in Portugal.
Saucedo's ability will undoubtedly be part of the future of the RSL attack as he's showcased a penchant for scoring goals, and done so by pouring them in at the academy levels. In two years at the RSL Academy, Saucedo scored 50 goals in 60 development academy games with the U-15 and U-16 sides, per a release from the Grande Sports Academy.
The 5-foot-7, 145-pound attacking midfielder has trained off and on with the first team this year, bouncing back between his home base in Utah and the academy in Arizona. The RSL Academy's U-16 club lost 2-0 in the U.S. Development Academy championship to the L.A. Galaxy on July 19, signaling the end of the season for the academy teams in Arizona.
I'll have more on the Saucedo signing after I get a chance to speak with Lagerwey.