The first addition this Real Salt Lake off-season is a familiar face.
Eighteen-year-old Jordan Allen, who was part of RSL's Arizona Academy program from Aug. 2011 to Dec. 2012, signed a home-grown contract on New Year's Eve. Allen, who played at the University of Virginia this fall, started all 24 matches as a freshman as the Cavaliers made a run to the NCAA College Cup.
"To see my dream of signing with RSL come true is very exciting," Allen said in a release from the club. "This is the reason I first moved to the Academy in Arizona. At the same time, I know that this is just the first step, and I need to stay grounded. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to play at RSL, but I know that I have plenty of work to do in order to become a successful pro."
Allen becomes to first signing of a short off-season for the RSL front office after the club made a run to the MLS Cup final on Dec. 7. After trading veteran defender Lovel Palmer to Chicago for allocation money, RSL made its second personnel move with Allen, who is the sixth player signed out of the RSL-Arizona Academy.
A Rochester, N.Y., native, Allen was named the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy Player of the Year in 2013 as well as the USSDA Western Conference Player of the Year and he earned a spot on the USSDA Starting XI Team of the Year for the 2011-2012 season.
Allen played with Carlos Salcedo, Lalo Fernandez and Benji Lopez while at the Casa Grande, Ariz. Academy and deepens the well of young talent on the club. Along with the aforementioned players listed above, Allen also joins Luis Gil, Sebastian Velasquez, Olmes Garcia, Devon Sandoval and Joao Plata as young contributors heading into 2014.
A source said Allen at age 18 has the ability to make match-day squads during the 2014 season, which begins March 8 against the L.A. Galaxy at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
Predominately a midfielder, the 5-foot-11, 160-pound Allen is capable of playing all over the pitch. He could contribute as a defender, midfielder or as a forward. He scored three goals and had a team-high five assists with Virginia in 2013.