Without Onuoha & Beckerman, How Does Real Salt Lake Resolve Their Unrest?

Feb 5, 2021, 12:21 PM
Photo Courtesy: Real Salt Lake...
Photo Courtesy: Real Salt Lake

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – When you look at the current state of Real Salt Lake many questions still require answers. Who is going to take over the ownership responsibilities? How does Manager Freddy Juarez improve from his debut season in charge to the upcoming 2021 campaign?

But maybe the biggest question of them all has not received enough conversation; who does RSL turn to for leadership without the likes of Nedum Onuoha and Kyle Beckerman no longer around?

The retirement of both Onuoha and Beckerman has left a gigantic hole inside the club. Both individuals were known for their impressive and consistent performances on the pitch, but their most desirable traits occurred inside the locker room.

“Those are guys that left their mark, left their legacy, and will be missed,” Juarez told KSL Sports. “They are irreplaceable.”

The ability to motivate fellow teammates is a skill that not everybody is born with. Beckerman and Onuoha, although very different in their approaches, had the ability to speak to their teammates in ways that very few can. When they spoke everybody inside the room listened, always.

With all of the chaos that 2020 brought the club, it is a fair assumption that if RSL did not have Beckerman and Onuoha on its roster the 2020 season could have ended worse than it did.

Manager Freddy Juarez is well aware of the loss the club sustained when the duo retired. But is optimistic that their departures will open the door for other players to showcase their leadership qualities.

Juarez is determined that the loss of Onuoha and Beckerman cannot be replicated. Nobody can impact the locker room the same way those guys did. But, Juarez is adamant that the team can work together in creating an environment where players thrive. A community-driven approach will occur in 2021, he hopes.

No one individual will be tasked with leading the team. The captain’s armband is irrelevant. Juarez is looking for leaders that do not accept losing, that strives every second of every day to better themselves while also bettering the people around them.

The 2021 season will be won or lost based on the leadership qualities of the entire team and not one or two individuals.

“When someone asks me 10 months from now, what were some things that you thought were a turning point? Well, the guys that were coming to the locker room and training every day, lifting weights, and running,” Juarez said. “I haven’t seen that in the last five years, six years, that many guys. Have there always been gym rats and guys coming and doing fitness stuff? Yeah. But not as many as there are now.”

The team is hungry. They sound determined to turn the tide and return RSL to its winning culture.

With everything that has transpired over the years, all of the negative press has seemingly added fuel to the fire for the playing group and coaching staff. They will not accept another losing season. The employees of RSL, the fans, and the state of Utah deserve more from their beloved soccer club.

The 2021 season cannot come fast enough. The anticipation is growing.

RSL must return to the playoff picture in 2021 or else serious repercussions will likely occur. A return to the playoffs, however, requires leadership from players that must still prove their worth.

No pressure, gents.


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