COUNTRY: United States
CLUB: Real Salt Lake
YEARS PRO: 4
A cerebral center back comfortable with the ball at his feet, Justen Glad has one of the highest ceilings of any defender on the 24 Under 24 list. Signed as a Homegrown out of RSL’s Arizona academy in April 2014, the 20-year-old has been an automatic starter for Real Salt Lake each of the past two seasons and earned the club’s Defender of the Year honors in 2016.
He missed the first few months of 2017 due to an injury and while with the US Under-20s for their impressive run at the U-20 World Cup, but he’s made a huge difference for RSL since returning to the field early this summer. In 16 matches prior to Glad’s first appearance of the year, RSL went 4-10-2 and conceded a whopping 35 times. In 15 matches since, they’ve gone 8-4-3 and allowed just 17 goals.
What the technical staffers say:
"I’m really high on him, I like him. I think he’s got a good future as a center back."
"He’s got a mix of a bunch of players – he’s got some [Nat] Borchers, he’s got some Jim Curtin in him, not because of the red hair, just that they were cerebral pro players."
"He’s not a big, strong kid, but he competes. He times his tackles [well]."
"He’s not afraid to have the ball."
"I haven’t spent a lot of time around him, but he seems to show some leadership qualities for a young player. He’s talking and directing players when he’s in the back."
"It looks like he has visions to make the [US] national team, and I think he should set goals to be a central defender. I think he needs to get stronger, and that will come, but all his other attributes I think fit well."
"Justen is a steady defender…I do think for him to make the jump, he’s going to have to improve his physicality. He is not an imposing center back and at some point he’s going to need to be imposing…That’s the one need that Justen’s going to need to get figured out to take the next step from being a complementary starter, to starring in the league."