Head coach Freddy Juarez parted ways with Real Salt Lake on Friday for what the team labeled a “new opportunity.”
Assistant coach Pablo Mastroeni was named the interim head coach for Real Salt Lake (7-7-6, 27 points), who will return to action on Sunday against the host Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
The Athletic reported Juarez is joining the staff of the Seattle Sounders, who recently lost assistant coaches Gonzalo Pineda and Djimi Traore to other positions. Juarez could have sensed Real Salt Lake wasn’t planning to pick up his contract option for 2022 and decided to move on now, per the report.
Juarez, 43, joined the Real Salt Lake organization as an RSL Academy head coach in 2010. He was promoted to assistant coach of Real Salt Lake in 2017, assumed the role of interim head coach in August 2019 and was named the fifth head coach in the club’s history on Dec. 3, 2019.
“I’ve had the incredible opportunity to grow with Freddy in this organization over the last 11 years. It has been an honor and a pleasure to share this experience with him. We are a better club for the contributions Freddy has made, he leaves Real Salt Lake with a legacy that we will appreciate for years to come. He is an extremely talented coach who will bring passion and expertise to his next opportunity,” Real Salt Lake general manager Elliot Fall said.
“Today we immediately begin an exhaustive search for the right person to lead our club to our desired and expected levels of success. With our combination of talent, infrastructure, commitment to development, and the local relevance thanks to our incredible fan base, we are uniquely positioned to usher in a new era of growth and success for Real Salt Lake and the Utah sports community.”
Mastroeni, who turns 45 on Sunday, previously served as the head coach of the Colorado Rapids and spent one season as an assistant coach with Houston Dynamo FC. He joined Real Salt Lake prior to the start of this season.
“Despite only joining us prior to this season, Pablo Mastroeni knows our roster more intimately than anyone,” Fall said. “He is the ideal person to take the reins right now and continue our push for a playoff berth. We have the utmost confidence in his ability to maximize the talent on our roster in the short term.”
–Field Level Media