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SALT LAKE CITY - Real Salt Lake today acquired forward Robbie Findley and D/M Nathan Sturgis in a deal with the Los Angeles Galaxy that sent MF Chris Klein to the Southern California club in return. Findley is expected to join Real Salt Lake for training on Friday at Rice-Eccles Stadium and will be available for RSL's home contest this Saturday, June 23 against D.C. United (7:30 p.m. MT, live on Fox Soccer Channel). Sturgis is currently at a training camp with his new teammates Freddy Adu and Chris Seitz as part of the 21-man U.S. Under-20 National Team roster and will join RSL upon returning from the USA's participation in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada, running from June 30-July 22.
As a member of the Generation adidas program, the 19-year-old Sturgis will occupy Real Salt Lake's tenth and final available spot on the team's Developmental roster. Meanwhile, the 21-year-old Findley will take one of RSL's two previously available slots on the 18-man Senior roster.
"Trading a veteran with the attributes and professionalism of a Chris Klein is never an easy thing to do, but making this deal allows us to bring in a pair of young players that are ready to step in and contribute right away," said Real Salt Lake Technical Director/Director of Soccer Operations John Ellinger. "Robbie Findley is a player we had our eye in very closely during the draft in January, and his early results this year prove why he was so sought after. With Nathan Sturgis we bring in a player that can fill several needs and whose experience and poise at such a young age will allow him to step in comfortably from day one. We want to wish nothing but the best to Chris and his family as he transitions to the Galaxy and look forward to welcoming Nathan and Robbie into the squad."
In Sturgis, Real Salt Lake gets a versatile player that is comfortable anywhere on the backline and in central midfield. The former Clemson University product has long been a member of various U.S. Youth National Teams, with Sturgis hoping to use his second appearance in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in a couple of weeks as a springboard to a spot on next summer's U.S. Olympic (U-23) team. Sturgis has started 23 of his 24 appearances across his season-and-a-half in MLS after being drafted by the Galaxy in the first round (12th overall) of the 2006 MLS SuperDraft. Sturgis played in all nine of the Galaxy's matches this season, making the starting XI in eight of those contests.
Findley comes to Salt Lake City with plenty of potential, which has already been utilized early in his rookie season as evidenced by a pair of goals scored in just 377 minutes of play. Findley also appeared in all nine of L.A.'s games this season, including three starting nods, after being drafted in the second round (16th overall) of January's 2007 MLS SuperDraft. After finishing his four-year career at Oregon State University as the school's third-leading scorer with 28 goals, Findley earned an invite to the adidas/MLS Player Combine in January, where he impressed MLS scouts and coaches enough to shoot up the draft charts to his eventual early second-round position.
Klein more than made his mark with Real Salt Lake during his year-and-a-half tenure with the club, as he leaves the squad among its career leaders with eight goals (3rd), nine assists (T-2nd), 43 games played (T-5th); 43 games started (4th); 3,832 minutes played (4th), 92 shots (3rd), and 37 shots on goal (3rd). The 10-year MLS veteran was the most dependable cog in Real Salt Lake's line-up this season, departing the squad as the only player to see the field for all 990 minutes during the 2007 campaign. Los Angeles will mark the 31-year-old Klein's third MLS stop for the four-time MLS All-Star selection, former U.S. Men's National Team member (22 caps, five goals), and two-time MLS Comeback Player of the Year award winner, having spent the 1998-2005 campaigns with the Kansas City Wizards before joining RSL via trade on January 23, 2006.