Monarchs Media Day: MF Ricardo Velazco

March 20th, 2015 | by Sean Walker
Ricardo Velazco speaks to  the media at Real Monarchs media day near Rio Tinto Stadium. (Screen capture/RSL Communications)

Ricardo Velazco speaks to the media at Real Monarchs media day near Rio Tinto Stadium. (Screen capture/RSL Communications)

Ricardo Velazco’s journey to professional soccer has been a long one — but it’s finally finding some closure.

Velazco, a native of Casa Grande, Arizona, who prepped at Casa Grande Union High School, spent four years playing for the RSL-Arizona Academy under current Monarchs head coach Freddy Juarez. He also played four matches for nearby PDL team FC Tucson, notching an assist in 317 minutes of play.

After high school, Velazco enrolled at Cal State San Bernardino, where he started in 12 of his 14 matches and scored a team-high six goals, including three match-winners. He was the California Collegiate Athletic Association Freshman of the Year and first-team all-league in his one season of Division II college soccer.

Velazco then moved to the University of Louisville in 2013, where he led the team with seven goals and nine assists in 20 matches, all starts. When Real Salt Lake began putting together its third-division team in USL, Velazco was one of the first players tapped by Real Monarchs. He left school a year early to sign a professional contract with the club, and his pro soccer career is off.

“I transferred to Louisville, played two years, and loved it,” Velazco said. “Now playing for the Monarchs has been a long process already. I’m thankful to have this opportunity.”

Velazco and the Monarchs will kick off their inaugural season in USL when they take on L.A. Galaxy II on Sunday in Carson, California. The 5-foot, 7-inch attacking midfielder will likely be a veteran for the club in its first season of professional play.

Salt City FC caught up with Velazco at Real Monarchs’ Media Day last Monday to talk about signing with the Monarchs, keeping the “RSL way,” and his personal expectations for his first year as a professional.

 

On signing with the Monarchs:

“It’s a great feeling. I love it a lot, being a part of the RSL family. Being with the Monarchs is another chance to grow as a player and to keep developing.”

On his familiarity with RSL’s system from his academy days:

“I grew up playing the RSL system, so I know how the academy plays — it’s almost identical as the first team. The Monarchs are trying to do the same thing. We’re prepared with growing up in this system. The place doesn’t change. We’re trying to play the same style, so it helps out and it’s easier.”

On the change from the college and academy play to USL:

“You have to be ready for the speed of play. It’s faster, and the way the ball moves quicker. The players are more physical, bigger, and stronger. But the style doesn’t change. It’s still soccer, and hopefully it goes well.”

On whether winning is important in the club’s inaugural season:

“I think that’s the expectation. I want to play for somebody that is anxious to win a championship. The expectation is always to win and to win it all.”

Salt City FC will countdown the final days until the Monarchs’ USL opener with a player interview from the team’s media day. Check back on Saturday, when we’ll sit down with defender Jordan Murrell, RSL’s fourth-round draft pick who signed with the Monarchs ahead of their final preseason game against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC.

Sean Walker

Sean Walker

Salt City FC editor-in-chief Sean Walker has been covering soccer at all levels since 2007. He began his career in Las Vegas, and has since written for publications from the Intermountain West to Central New York, where he attended graduate school in 2012. Currently, Sean covers Real Salt Lake and Major League Soccer for KSL.com. A struggling Evertonian by birth, Sean follows European soccer through the blue lens of the Toffees, and has strong feelings toward the UEFA Europa League.

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