Exclusive: Real Salt Lake General Manager Elliot Fall Details 2021 Season
SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake General Manager Elliot Fall has discussed detailed insights into the 2021 MLS regular season in an exclusive interview with KSL Sports.
Hiring Of Pablo
Real Salt Lake hired Pablo Mastroeni as an assistant coach prior to the 2021 season. It was an event that caused mixed emotions within the Real Salt Lake fanbase given Mastroeni’s tenure and history with Real Salt Lake while playing for Colorado Rapids back in the day.
“He is a leader,” Fall emphatically stated. “When you listen to him speak you understand why people follow him. The passion he has for the game, the passion he has for coaching, for the sports, and now for our club. He obviously has incredible experience as well that is invaluable in a locker room like ours.”
Life Without Ownership
Many fans and media members assume like without ownership is torturous. It is challenging, and it is painful, and certainly, it can be. But life without ownership is not as dire as many may assume.
In fact, on some occasions, life without ownership is easier. Real Salt Lake and Fall has signed a number of high-caliber players without ownership, most notably Bobby Wood.
“We’re able to make decisions, we’re able to go through our process internally and really refine that process and believe in it. Anytime you add another influential piece to a decision-making process you’re just adding unknowns,” Fall said.
Understanding culture is almost impossible. The culture is “living and breathing,” Fall says. It is forever changing. The culture today is different from the culture at the start of the season. Players grow and develop, friendships and relationships are formed and established, the culture of Real Salt Lake is different today than it was even yesterday.
For Fall, one of the hardest parts of his job establishing what players will fit into the culture of the locker room. Personalities, backgrounds, characteristics of players are all big components in developing a strong culture.
Could Real Salt Lake go out and sign a player from Japan or would they need to sign two players from Japan so that they have each other? Would it make sense to sign a Japanese player who doesn’t speak Spanish or English and integrate them into a locker room where nobody speaks the same language?
The mosaic of a locker room is complex. It is not as easy as signing the best players available, rather, there are a lot more variables that are in play.
Juarez To Mastroeni
Seattle called and requested to speak to Freddy Juarez and at Real Salt Lake it is a club policy to never deny somebody the ability to speak to an interested party. Juarez called, spoke, and made his decision to leave. Fall was far from surprised.
“Over the last couple of years and the things I have seen I am never surprised anymore,” he jokingly stated.
Mastroeni was given the interim tag which means nothing besides a lack of job security. Mastroeni makes his own decisions, runs the team, and manages the players as if he is the full-time manager. Fall does not intrude on decisions.
Mastroeni has done a sensational job thus far. He has implemented his own strategy and structure while leading the group with infectious charisma. The team has had its ups and downs, highs and lows, but through it all Mastroeni has shown the ability to progress and develop.
The Sporting Kansas City victory was a perfect example of that.
Mastroeni is a finalist for the managerial vacancy. One can also assume that the playoff success of Real Salt Lake will also play a pivotal role in determining the new manager. If Mastroeni guides Real Salt Lake to an MLS Cup or deep into the playoffs then his time in Real Salt Lake is only just starting, we can assume.
Fall did not give much away on these subjects. He admitted that the club has spent “thousands of hours” talking about the management search. Finding candidates, interviewing them, and determining who is the better candidate.
But so much uncertainty still remains.
Real Salt Lake is on the verge of being sold, as first reported by Sportico. If the sale occurs soon, new ownership would like to have a seat at the table when hiring a new manager.
Does Fall and Real Salt Lake wait for new ownership to make the managerial hire? When the 2021 season concludes for Real Salt Lake they must act sooner rather than later. Time is precious and the faster they can make the managerial announcement the better.
Hopefully, Real Salt Lake is bought over the next few weeks and the club can progress in the hiring of leadership positions.
Until now, sadly, we will have to wait for the club’s next move.
Real Salt Lake will next travel to Seattle for a date with Freddy Juarez and the Sounders. The single-elimination game will be a part of the first round of the MLS Playoffs with the winner advancing while the loser is eliminated.
The kick-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. on November 23rd and will be broadcast via FS1.