Real Salt Lake goalkeeper David Ochoa was once considered one of the team’s brightest young stars. He made a name for himself by helping the Real Monarchs win a USL Championship title in 2019, and then gained popularity among fans in subsequent years by becoming the fourth-youngest Major League Soccer player ever to record his first shutout, and performing with palpable bravado.
But in 2022, Ochoa has been out of the goalkeeper rotation for RSL. He has made several appearances for the Monarchs but has only appeared in one Open Cup match with RSL this season.
Fans have been wondering aloud why Ochoa has been out of favor all season. On Tuesday, he gave them an answer via his Instagram account.
“For those of you asking...yes I’m still an RSL player,” Ochoa wrote. “I’m just not allowed to train with the team.”
The post featured a selfie of the goalkeeper in a teal RSL uniform.
“And can’t leave,” Ochoa added in a subsequent post. “I hope you guys have a blessed rest of your day.”
Asked recently about Ochoa’s future with the club, specifically if he might leave on a free transfer at the end of the season, general manager Elliot Fall told KUTV’s Talkin’ Sports: “Honestly, I think there’s a lot of ways it could play out. David’s a really, really good, exceptional young player. We saw that last year. He’s another one who struggled with some offseason injuries. It took him some time to find fitness and form. He’s still getting back to it. I can’t really say what the future will hold for David, but it’s not necessarily a free transfer.”
An RSL spokesperson declined comment on Ochoa’s latest social media posts.
Ochoa spent part of the season on the injured list for RSL. His most recent game action game on May 25 in a Monarchs game against the Houston Dynamo 2. He started that game and played all 90 minutes.
Ochoa made waves last August by choosing to become a member of the Mexican National Team, penning an essay in the Players Tribune explaining his decision. He also caused a stir when he kicked the ball at Minnesota United fans after the conclusion of a game, sparking coach Adrian Heath to criticize him for his actions.
Last November, Ochoa led a shutout effort in a win over the Seattle Sounders, earning adoration from RSL fans for frustrating opponents with his on-field antics.
“I enjoy being the villain,” Ochoa said. “I love when people are talking smack to me. I feel like it makes me play better.”