SANDY, Utah – Salt Lake City native Justin Braun hasn't had any problems adjusting to his surroundings following his July 11 move to his hometown club. What has hampered the former Montreal and Chivas USA forward in his return home, however, is his adjustment to the stylistic and technical side of things at Real Salt Lake.
"It's been OK," RSL head coach Jason Kreis said of Braun's progress with the team. "He works extremely hard. He fits into our mentality with his character as a person and with his work rate, but tactically and technically he needs improvement."
And it's the type of improvement that can only come with repetitions. Kreis has talked before about how new players usually take a year to adjust to RSL's style, and doesn't expect it to be any different for the 25-year-old forward.
"We all know about Justin's history," said the coach. "I don't think he's come from the most organized and the highest levels of youth and college soccer. Some of that he still has to learn. To look at him, and to look at his age, I think he is still a younger player than what his age says – if that makes sense. To me, I still look at him as a young player who is finding his way in our system."
While Braun has only appeared in two games – logging 87 minutes in total for his new team – his outlook is still positive.
"It's been good," said Braun of his nearly two months with Real. "I really enjoy the organization and the guys on the team really took me under their wing. All the players and the organization have made the transition a positive one for me and I am enjoying myself. All in all, it's been good so far."
Despite his lack of playing time, Braun obviously can play in the league – he has 24 career goals. So while sitting on the bench is tough, he isn't about to pout over it.
"I'm just trying to control what I can control," said Braun. "I just come out here everyday on the training field and work hard and try to show these coaches that I need to be on the field to help this team win, try to make their decision, come the weekend, difficult.
"I'm definitely still learning," he continued. "I mean it was tough the first few games when you're with a new team to get used to the flow of the game and the style they play. I think come more game time, the more familiar you are going to get with everyone on the field. I mean, the practice field you can only learn so much. When you step out there on the weekend, that's when it matters. I'm just looking forward to getting more playing time."