Real Salt Lake Forward Corey Baird Named MLS Rookie Of The Year

Nov 5, 2018, 4:16 PM
Real Salt Lake forward Corey Baird (27) blasts a shot past Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Meli...
Real Salt Lake forward Corey Baird (27) blasts a shot past Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia (29) and into the net during the Real Salt Lake versus Sporting KC at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Wednesday, July 4, 2018. (Steve Griffin/Deseret News)
(Steve Griffin/Deseret News)

SANDY, Utah – Major League Soccer announced the RSL forward Corey Baird has been named the 2018 MLS Rookie of the Year. He is the first Real Salt Lake player to receive the award.

Baird joined Real Salt Lake as a homegrown player during the offseason. He led all rookies with eight goals while adding five assists. The 22-year old striker is the third academy product ever, and second in the last three seasons to win the Rookie of the Year award. The first player was in 2016 when Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris won the award. Baird and Morris were teammates at Stanford University, Baird won three NCAA Championships with the Cardinal.

“It’s amazing. It’s something at the beginning of the year that I wasn’t even thinking about. The year has really taken off in a way I’ve never expected and never could have seen coming,” Baird said. “The veterans on the team are inclusive and very helpful with advice and encouragement.  I think the club does a great job of integrating new guys. That was enormous for me and I can’t thank them enough for that,” he added.

“We are extremely proud of Corey for his development over the course of the season. When he got an opportunity to get playing time, he took it and ran with it and had an incredibly productive season,” said RSL General Manager Craig Waibel. “It’s a great testament to his work ethic, but also how well-prepared he was to play at the professional level after playing under Jeremy Gunn at Stanford and Freddy Juarez and Martin Vasquez at the RSL Academy.”

The award was voted on by MLS club technical staff, media and current MLS players.

Baird finished with 40.12 percent of the player votes, 47.84 percent of the media vote, and 43.69 percent of the club vote.

Real Salt Lake will face Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, November 11 in Kansas City. They are in the middle of the Western Conference semifinal series of the MLS Cup Playoffs. Each team has a goal going into the second leg, which will kickoff at 1 p.m. on ESPN.

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Real Salt Lake Forward Corey Baird Named MLS Rookie Of The Year