Real Salt Lake signs Monarchs captain Nick Besler

Real Salt Lake has signed Monarchs captain Nick Besler, the team announced Thursday.

“I’m very excited,” Besler said in a team release. “It was a goal when I signed with the Monarchs to make it to the first team. I knew I had to consistently perform with that goal in mind of making it to the first team. It provided me extra motivation to keep improving.”

The 23-year-old midfielder has scored three goals and made an assist in 22 matches for the first-place Monarchs (16-3-4). Real Salt Lake’s USL affiliate set a league record with its nine-match winning streak April 22 to June 19.

“We’re really proud as an organization when we have players that deserve the opportunities,” RSL general manager Craig Waibel said in a release. “Being the captain and how he has performed consistently throughout the season, it makes a lot of sense. It was the right time to reward him, and from an organizational standpoint, it’s a continuation of what we set out to do, which was to bring guys into the first team when they are ready. There are certainly more players that deserve a look.”

With Besler’s addition, RSL has one roster spot open after its trade with Vancouver that sent Aaron Maund to the Whitecaps for a third-round draft pick.

After being drafted fifth overall by the Portland Timbers in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, Besler spent two seasons with the club but did not make a first-team appearance. He made 40 starts with Portland Timbers 2 and scored a goal during that time.

Besler is the fourth Monarchs player to sign with RSL.

(Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune) RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen chatted with students prior to addressing the students in the new Academy's opening week., Thursday, August 23, 2017.