Real Salt Lake’s Andrew Brody is on the rise.
After a turbulent start to his Major League Soccer career, the defender worked himself up to become a staple in Pablo Mastroeni’s starting lineup and inspire the Western Conference team to third on the table.
He initially joined the academy in 2011 and began playing for the club's former USL Championship affiliate and now-MLS NEXT Pro side Real Monarchs.
While the homegrown full-back has been with Real Salt Lake throughout the majority of his developmental process, he briefly stepped away to feature for the University of Louisville and complete a loan spell in Austria.
But it wasn’t always easy.
“For a while there with the Monarchs, I wasn't sure if I was good enough for so long. I think I kind of lost a bit of confidence over my time with the Monarchs. I went to Austria on a 12-month loan to help me find my confidence again,” he said exclusively to 90min.
Brody finally debuted with the first team in 2021 and has since recorded 31 league appearances to become a team staple.
“I think the biggest thing is the mindset is that I'm believing in myself and that I know I belong at this level and I know I can compete at this level and make a difference," Brody said. "Coming back to the first team, signing with them at the end of 2020 for the start of the 2021 season, I was full of confidence, ready to go, and ready to make an impact on the team and see what I could do to help the team.”
A strong mentality propelled Brody to a starting position on the team, but the player admitted that’s when the real work began.
“Eventually I found a starting spot. And I know once you have the starting spot, it means you have to work twice as hard to be able to keep it because there's always guys coming in," he added. "I think that's what's contributed to so much success with our team, because we have a very competitive group every single day in training, and that's what it takes to get results.”
In 2021, the team shocked when reaching the MLS Cup Western Conference finals against the Portland Timbers. Real Salt Lake qualified for the postseason in seventh place on the table, occupying the last spot. While no one believed RSL could make it far, they did.
Now, the goal is to keep pushing, insists Brody.
“The goal right now has to be to get a home playoff game because we'd love to play at home in front of our fans at the riot and in that electric playoff atmosphere that they would bring. Just keep doing a lot of the same things that we've been doing. We know right now where we stand in third. It doesn't mean that's where we're going to finish,” the recent Roc Nation signee said.
“We have to keep working and we have to keep doing the same things that we've been doing to get ourselves here so far. It's not going to be easy. Well, with the next stretch of games. It's a very long season and, you know, things can change so quickly in soccer. It's about keeping a level head, staying positive, even when things aren't going too well, and just riding it out. Just doing what you can to help the team succeed is the biggest thing that you can do as a player.”
A strong composure has led the team to stand as one of the Western Conference’s fiercest competitors, boasting 25 points in 15 matches and a record of 7-4-4. But Real Salt Lake is not immune to the pitfalls of Major League Soccer.
The team suffered one of the biggest losses this season, 6-0 against New York City FC at Yankee Stadium in April. While the team recovered well, it remains a daunting memory for Brody when asked what their biggest challenge has been this season.
“We obviously struggled with NYCFC in a way that wasn't our best performance," he recalled. "I think they were a very good side. And then in the West, I think Nashville's been a tough battle for us. We ended up splitting the season series with them. But, you know, in MLS, I feel like every single game is a tough game. You know, every single team's going to fight, and you really have to be on your A-game if you want to pick up points in this league.”
But with the fans behind them, Brody insists Real Salt Lake can take on anybody, even NYCFC. The team is undefeated at Rio Tinto Stadium, a feat the defender credited to the fans - who have turned out in big numbers this year.
“The fans have been a very important part of our success this year, especially at home being undefeated this year at the riot," Brody said. "You know, they bring an electric atmosphere from minute one all the way to stoppage time in the 90 plus minute. So we know if we have them cheering us on and they have our back, then we want to get out there and perform for them and play exciting football and, you know, really, really give them something to cheer about.”
Brody and Real Salt Lake return to action on June 18 against the San Jose Earthquakes in the fight for the first place spot on the table.