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SANDY — Real Salt Lake continued its offseason roster moves Friday afternoon as the club announced the trade of defender Lovel Palmer to the Chicago Fire in a trade for allocation money.
“Real Salt Lake will always have a special place in my heart,” Palmer said in the RSL news release. “I wouldn’t trade this last season with RSL for anything. If someone said to me at the beginning of the year that we would do it all over again, that RSL and Sporting Kansas City would be in MLS Cup and Kansas City would win, I wouldn’t trade teams. I wouldn’t trade the Real Salt Lake experience for the MLS Cup. That’s how much being with RSL, being in Salt Lake City and in Utah meant to me.”
Having only been with the Salt Lake club for one season, Palmer continued to express his thoughts on the trade via Twitter in a few tweets after the announcement.
“My experience in Salt Lake City is next to none. Going there I felt like a lost person and I leave there finding myself. Thanks for a great year and no matter what happens 2013 will always be the best year in soccer. I have nothing but love for @RealSaltLake #RSLFamily,” Palmer tweeted in two tweets.
With a flood of RSL fans tweeting their disappointment about the move and expressing their thanks for the 5-foot-10 defender, Palmer tried to ease fans' minds.
“#rslfamily think of me leaving as you watching your son grow into a man and leave the home and excel as a man. Be proud of what y’all produced,” Palmer tweeted.
Palmer came to the Salt Lake club just under one year ago on Dec. 14, 2012, when RSL selected him in the first round, second stage of the MLS Re-Entry Draft. RSL then made it official on Jan. 3 of this year by inking him to a contract.
The Jamaican defender finished the 2013 season with 17 regular season matches and three playoff matches in the Claret and Cobalt. Palmer’s last moment in the RSL kit was his devastating penalty kick miss in the MLS Cup, Dec. 7, which handed Sporting Kansas City the trophy.
Palmer’s first season with the Chicago Fire will mark his sixth season in his Major League Soccer career as he spent two seasons with the Portland Timbers and two seasons with the Houston Dynamo prior to his single year with RSL.
Palmer will have a familiar face with the Chicago-based club as he joins former RSL assistant coach C.J. Brown, who too returned to the club earlier this week after the departure of former RSL head coach Jason Kreis to NYCFC.
It’s something Palmer is looking forward to.
“It’s a bittersweet moment knowing I won’t be in that locker room again next year, but at the same time I’m excited to be with the Fire and stay with C.J. Brown,” Palmer said in the RSL news release. “Joining Chicago is a very exciting opportunity and I’m really looking forward to being with the Fire.” Kira Terry is a sports writer covering Real Salt Lake for KSL.com. Follow her on Twitter, @kiraterry.