Real Monarchs, Real Salt Lake's minor-league side, kick off their inaugural season against LA Galaxy II Sunday at 6 p.m., marking a new era in professional soccer in Utah.

It'll be the first time two professional clubs have run side-by-side, and it brings plenty of excitement and opportunity alongside it. Beyond having a formal arrangement with Real Salt Lake where a handful of first-team RSL players can play for the minor-league side and the MLS side, there are a number of players worth watching. Here are six of them.

Lucas Baldin, midfielder

A 2015 Real Salt Lake draft pick and a consistent performer over Real Salt Lake's preseason, Baldin, whose career has taken him through Brazil, Mexico and the University of South Florida, is a midfielder with a penchant for the simple but effective pass. He's played both in the classic Javier Morales role and deeper in the midfield — closer to former RSL midfielder Ned Grabavoy, perhaps.

Marvin Baumgartner, defender

A member of the El Salvadoran U-20 team, Baumgartner is an exciting young defender with plenty of time in Swiss side FC Zurich's academy system. Look for him to step into the passing channels of attackers whether he's playing at left back or center back. He does present some unknowns and chief among them is whether he can make a transition from the good youth international experience he's gathered.

Lennon Celestino, midfielder

A defensive midfielder by trade, 23-year-old Lennon (known by his first name, as most Brazilian footballers tend to be) is no stranger to American soccer, having played two years in Florida. His first stint came in 2010 for Miami FC, then in 2011 for Fort Lauderdale Strikers — the same side, just rebranded and moved in-state. He spent the last three years at clubs in Brazil's Sao Paulo state league.

Coco Navarro, midfielder/forward

A young, bright attacking midfielder or forward, Navarro is one of the Real Salt Lake academy's top all-time goal scorers (passed by RSL's own Sebastian Saucedo, who tore the whole thing apart). After playing two years with Marquette, Navarro joins RSL as a player with a good future, but he'll need to show he can make the transition from his two-year college stint to a professional environment. Finding the runs of the talented attackers around him, as well as finding space for poached goals, will be key for him.

Ricardo Velazco, midfielder/forward

Another bright attacking player from Real Salt Lake's academy, Velazco is more of a pure goal scorer than he is a setup player. His set piece delivery is excellent, and he's been a consistent contributor on the scoresheet from the time in his academy through his college career, playing at Louisville and Cal State Bernardino. He has some strong pace on him, too, so expect him to make some strong runs up top.

Emery Welshman, forward

A speedy winger, expect to see Welshman out wide and running in the channels between the opposition center back and left back. He's scored his fair share of goals already, with the biggest highlight being his beautiful curling shot from close range in the Desert Diamond Cup win over Sporting Kansas City in RSL's preseason.

Matt Montgomery is the managing editor of RSL Soapbox. Contact him at