In February, U.S. Soccer held a U-14 regional mini-camp and while current RSL AZ players Oliver Lopez Aceves, Jaxson Hall, Jesus Cota Monzon, Jonah Giorgis, Noah DaSilva and Anthony Capetillo Hernandez were named to the camp, there was one former RSL AZ player also named to the mimi-camp, Linkon Ream, who currently plays for the Real Salt Lake Academy in Utah.
Linkon played for the RSL AZ 2009 MLS Next team and was identified by Real Salt Lake scouts and invited to compete for the Real Salt Lake Academy in Utah. Linkon is one of a handful of RSL AZ players who are identified and invited to Utah every year.
Linkon is currently competing for the Real Salt Lake Academy U15 team that is second in the MLS NEXT U15 Boys West Division.
RSL AZ caught up with Linkon to talk about the national team camp and what the experience has been like in Utah.
RSL AZ: How was the National Team camp? What was the experience like and how did you find out you were going to be called in?
Linkon: Just before one of my trainings, my coach pulled me aside and told me that I had been picked to attend the 2009 mini-camp. The national team camp was a really great experience. I was able to play with a lot of talented players and learn a lot from the players and the coaches.
RSL AZ: Talk about the move to the Real Salt Lake Academy in Utah. What has the experience been like?
Linkon: Moving back to Utah was easy and hard. Easy because I grew up in Utah and was excited to be back with friends and family. But it was hard to leave because I love the warm weather and had made a lot of great friends there.
RSL AZ: What has been your favorite part about playing for the RSL Academy in Utah?
Linkon: My favorite part about RSL Academy in Utah is getting to train two-times per day in the best facility and on the best fields. I am excited and looking forward to attending the RSL High School next year.
RSL AZ: How do you think playing for RSL AZ MLS NEXT helped you prepare for the Real Salt Lake Academy?
Linkon: I think that playing for RSL AZ prepared me by helping me learn to adjust to having different coaches and adjusting to what each coach wanted from me on the field. RSL AZ also taught me to be willing to try different positions even if it is outside my comfort zone.
RSL AZ: Do you have any advice for kids who also would like to play MLS NEXT, for the RSL Academy in Utah, and being called into the National Team?
Linkon: The best advice I can give is to always keep working hard. Team practices are not enough. You need to be getting touches on your own too. I know if you put in the work it will pay off.