Real Salt Lake sign NASL all-star midfielder Luke Mulholland
In the last several years, Real Salt Lake have been more willing than many teams to utilize domestic scouting, acquiring players like out-of-contract Yordany Alvarez, current New York Red Bull Jonny Steele, and forward Paulo Jr. from the American minor-league circuits (No. 2 goalkeeper Jeff Attinella also played at lower levels, though he was drafted by RSL).
New head coach Jeff Cassar is hoping to dip into that well once again, signing two-time North American Soccer League Best XI selection Luke Mulholland on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old Mulholland was named to the NASL's Best XI in each of the last two seasons with the Tampa Bay Rowdies and won two Soccer Bowls in less than three seasons in the league. Last year, he finished fifth in the league with 11 goals, tied for second with seven assists, and was named NASL Player of the Month twice.
In 2012, he scored the decisive goal in the second leg of the league semifinals and scored the opening penalty kick in Tampa Bay's shootout win in the Soccer Bowl. In 2011, he joined the Minnesota Stars for the stretch run and scored two goals in the playoffs, including the game-winning goal in the first leg of the final, en route to the championship.
Mulholland's successful stint with Minnesota came on the heels of an outstanding first professional seaso with the Wilmington Hammerheads. Mulholland earned USL PRO Rookie of the Year and Team of the Year honors in 2011 before signing with Minnesota.
Born in Preston, England, Mulholland played college soccer at Division II Wingate University in Wingate, N.C. A Division II all-America selection, Mulholland also played two years of summer soccer in the Premier Development League with Reading, which became an affiliate of the Philadelphia Union during Mulholland's second season, 2010.
Mulholland has played in Utah before; in 2011, he scored in both the first and second rounds of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, helping Wilmington reach the Round of 16. The Hammerheads were then drawn against Real Salt Lake, and Mulholland played his first 90 minutes at Rio Tinto Stadium in a 2-0 loss.
He will get much better acquainted with the venue this year, as he tries to help Real Salt Lake add to their squad from the minor-league ranks yet again.