RSL is bringing back midfielder Luke Mulholland
(Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune) Real Salt Lake midfielder Luke Mulholland (19) Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi (8) and Sporting Kansas City midfielder Ilie Sanchez (6) during the game at Rio Tinto Stadium Sunday, October 22, 2017.
Real Salt Lake announced Thursday that it’s bringing back the veteran midfielder for the 2020 season. It will be the seventh year Mulholland will wear an RSL uniform.
“Luke is an established member of our club and community and we are thrilled to have him back in an RSL jersey for the 2020 season," RSL general manager Elliot Fall said in a statement. "He is a player who has dealt with significant adversity over the last couple years and has bounced back in a fantastic way.”
In the last two seasons, Mulholland has played a total of five games for RSL, including playoffs. The previous year, he started in 22 of his 27 appearances.
But Mulholland has been hampered by injuries in recent years, particularly to his back, which needed surgery.
Mulholland felt healthy coming into the 2019 season, but found himself at the bottom of the depth chart. He told The Salt Lake Tribune in November that he didn’t know why that was the case.
He spent the latter portion of 2019 playing for the Real Monarchs, who eventually won their first-ever United Soccer League Championship title. While he relished the championship, he still wanted to get minutes with RSL.
“Ideally I would have preferred to play a bunch of games for the first team [last] year, but I didn’t get any opportunities under [former RSL coach] Mike [Petke],” Mulholland said just days before the Monarchs won the title.
Playing as many games with the Monarchs as possible became his priority near the end of the year to “try and turn a bad season into a good season.”
Fall acknowledged Mulholland’s time with the Monarchs as a reason why he was brought back for 2020.
“Without his contributions, the Real Monarchs would not have had the postseason success they did last year — that alone shows his level of professionalism and character,” Fall said. “He is a role model for our young players both on the field and in the locker room”
Mulholland joins an RSL team heavy at the defensive midfield position and will have to compete for time against Kyle Beckerman, Nick Besler and Everton Luiz.