5 Things to Know About U-20 MNT Defender Justen Glad

U-20 MNT - Justen Glad
U-20 MNT - Justen Glad

Coming off a historic 6-0 win in the Round of 16, the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team looks to continue to advance in the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup when it faces Venezuela in the quarterfinals. Among the six different goal scorers against New Zealand was Justen Glad, who was making his first start of the tournament.

Here are five things you should know about the defender from Tucson, Ariz.:

Success in the Academy

Glad joined the RSL-Arizona Academy in 2012 and made an immediate impact, helping the RSL U-16 team win the 2012-13 U.S. Soccer Development Academy title. Glad scored the game-winning goal in RSL’s 4-2 victory over Solar Chelsea SC in the final and he was named to the Academy Western Conference “Starting XI.” The following season, Glad was again named to the Western Conference “Starting XI” as Real Salt Lake AZ finished as runner-up to Los Angeles Galaxy.

RSL Bonds Run Deep

Glad is one of four players on the U.S. U-20 World Cup roster, along with Danny Acosta, Brooks Lennon and Sebastian Saucedo, representing Real Salt Lake. A fifth member of the team, Aaron Herrera of the University of New Mexico, was also a member of the RSL Academy before choosing the college route. Glad, Lennon and Saucedo represent the longest-serving members of the group, having played together with RSL since August of 2012. Making up nearly a quarter of the U.S. U-20 roster, the players from RSL have a special bond.

“I grew up playing with these guys. There’s a camaraderie you don’t get when you’re just playing with guys from around the country,” Glad told RSL.com earlier this month. “I know these guys and hang out with these guys every day. That’s something special.”

Joining the Professional Ranks

Two successful seasons in the RSL-Arizona Academy led to a homegrown contract for Glad. On April 7, 2014, the then 17-year old became the seventh player to join the RSL first team from the academy. Glad’s pro debut came almost one year later to the day on April 8, 2015 for Real Monarchs in their first home match of their inaugural season in USL; Glad scored on his debut in a 1-1 draw against Portland Timbers 2. As the 2015 season progressed, Glad moved up to the RSL first team, making seven M.L.S. appearances while also earning a start in both the CONCACAF Champions League and the U.S. Open Cup.

Coming of Age in 2016

Glad rose to prominence in the RSL first team during the 2016 season, when he made 28 league appearances, including 27 starts. On April 2, 2016, Glad scored his first career M.L.S. goal in a 2-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City. Glad participated in the 2016 M.L.S. Homegrown Game, part of the league’s all-star week festivities, for the second consecutive year and went on to be named the RSL Defensive Player of the Year. Glad’s successful 2016 season was rewarded with a multi-year contract extension on February 18, 2017.

A Family Affair

Justin Glad isn’t the only member of his family to play soccer beyond the youth ranks. Both of his older siblings, brother Eric and sister Jenna, played soccer collegiately. Eric was a junior college All-American at Pima Community College before moving on to Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, where he concluded his college career. Jenna was an all-state high school player in Arizona and went on to play collegiately at the University of Colorado.