SANDY, Utah (Sunday, November 8, 2020) – Real Salt Lake announced the team’s annual award winners for 2020, which were based on voting by RSL players. Damir Kreilach was voted the club’s Most Valuable Player and earned the Golden Boot as the club’s top scorer for the second time in three seasons. Aaron Herrera was voted Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive year, while Kyle Beckerman earned the Jordan Guernsey Humanitarian of the Year for the third consecutive year.
Damir Kreilach: RSL Most Valuable Player and RSL Golden Boot Award
In his third season with Real Salt Lake, Damir Kreilach led the team in scoring with eight goals to take home the club’s Golden Boot Award and was voted RSL Most Valuable Player for the second time since his arrival in 2018. The 31-year-old Croatian started in 20 of his 21 appearances in the abbreviated season, driving his career totals to 26 goals and 14 assists in 86 appearances, 83 of them in a starting role.
Kreilach earned RSL Golden Boot and MVP Awards in 2018, when he led the team with 12 goals and eight assists. He is the third player in club history to earn MVP honors in multiple seasons, joining Kyle Beckerman (2011-2013, 2016) and Javier Morales (2010, 2015) and the fifth player to earn the Golden Boot Award in multiple seasons, joining Robbie Findley (2007, 2009), Alvaro Saborio (2010-2013), Joao Plata (2014, 2016) and Albert Rusnák (2017, 2019).
Aaron Herrera: RSL Defensive Player of the Year
In his third full season in MLS, Aaron Herrera was a consistent defensive stopper in the right back role for RSL. The Real Salt Lake Academy product led the club with 1,706 minutes played while starting in all 20 of his appearances. He finished the season leading the team with 49 tackles and 43 dribbles completed and finishing second with 36 interceptions and nine blocks.
Herrera is the fifth player to win the award in multiple seasons, joining Eddie Pope (2005, 2007), Nat Borchers (2008, 2010-2011), Nick Rimando (2012-2013) and Justen Glad (2016-2017).
Kyle Beckerman: Jordan Guernsey Humanitarian of the Year
Kyle Beckerman was named the 2020 Jordan Guernsey Humanitarian of the Year for his wide-ranging and extensive work in the community, earning the honor for the third consecutive season.
Over the past two years Beckerman has focused his time helping kids on the Indian Reservations with his “Light the Res” project. Beckerman and the RSL Foundation auctioned off the 2019 Parley Jerseys to raise money to install solar on 13 houses of the Navajo Reservation.
This year when the pandemic hit, schools on the reservations shut down leaving many students isolated without the essential supplies needed to learn. The “Light the Res” project quickly adapted to fill the needs of the students by supplying grade level distance learning kits to over 7,500 students on the reservations in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. The kits were designed and funded by Heart of America, they contained: grade level books, art supplies, STEM experiments including a solar model car and a solar lantern.
As the son of two teachers Beckerman understands the role of supporting teachers and the importance of good curriculum. In previous years he has held a fifth grade book club encouraging kids to keep learning and reading over the summer.
This year Beckerman spent time with RSL’s youngest recruits, the U-15 academy team. He spoke of being a leader off the field and stressed the importance of knowing and supporting your teammates.
In 2015, the club announced that the Humanitarian of the Year Award would be named in honor of one of Real Salt Lake’s biggest fans, the late Jordan Guernsey, whose passion for work in the community embodied the spirit of the award.
Real Salt Lake All-Time Season-Ending Award Recipients
RSL Most Valuable Player: Damir Kreilach (2020), Everton Luiz (2019), Damir Kreilach (2018), Albert Rusnák (2017), Kyle Beckerman (2016), Javier Morales (2015), Joao Plata (2014), Kyle Beckerman (2013), Kyle Beckerman (2012), Kyle Beckerman (2011), Javier Morales (2010), Nat Borchers (2009), Javier Morales (2008), Nick Rimando (2007), Jeff Cunningham (2006), Andy Williams (2005)
RSL Golden Boot Award: Damir Kreilach (2020), Albert Rusnák (2019), Damir Kreilach (2018), Albert Rusnák (2017), Joao Plata (2016), Javier Morales (2015), Joao Plata (2014), Álvaro Saborío (2013), Álvaro Saborío (2012), Álvaro Saborío (2011), Álvaro Saborío (2010), Robbie Findley (2009), Yura Movsisyan (2008), Robbie Findley (2007), Jeff Cunningham (2006), Jason Kreis (2005)
RSL Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Herrera (2020), Aaron Herrera (2019), Brooks Lennon (2018), Justen Glad (2017), Justen Glad (2016), Aaron Maund (2015), Chris Schuler (2014), Nick Rimando (2013), Nick Rimando (2012), Nat Borchers (2011), Nat Borchers (2010), Jamison Olave (2009), Nat Borchers (2008), Eddie Pope (2007), Carey Talley (2006), Eddie Pope (2005)
Jordan Guernsey Humanitarian of the Year: Kyle Beckerman (2020), Kyle Beckerman (2019), Kyle Beckerman (2018), Justin Schmidt (2017), Jordan Allen and Justen Glad (2016), Abdoulie Mansally (2015), Abdoulie Mansally (2014), Chris Wingert (2013), Will Johnson (2012), Jean Alexandre (2011), Jean Alexandre (2010), Robbie Russell (2009), Nat Borchers (2008), Carey Talley (2007), Seth Trembly (2006), Brian Kamler (2005)