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SALT LAKE CITY (Thursday, August 14, 2008) - Real Salt Lake (7-6-6, 27 points, 1st Place in the MLS Western Conference) today added veteran American MF/FW Clint Mathis from Ergotelis FC of the Greek SuperLeague, the team announced today. RSL acquired the MLS rights to Mathis from the Los Angeles Galaxy in exchange for a conditional fourth round pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft.
"Mathis' veteran experience in both MLS and international arenas bolsters our roster," said RSL Head Coach Jason Kreis, whose squad is 11-10-9 in its last 30 games. "He has performed on huge stages, in MLS, in the Bundesliga, and in the World Cup. Clint gives us options at multiple positions and will immediately add depth, skill, and another set of intangibles to our emerging team."
Mathis played 27 games for RSL during its inaugural 2005 season, scoring three goals (each of which were named the MLS / Sierra Mist Goal of the Week) and adding four assists, playing alongside Kreis and "RSL Originals" Andy Williams and Kenny Cutler. Following a path similar to that of new RSL teammates Robbie Russell, Nat Borchers and Ian Joy, Mathis is yet another American player who has spent portions of his professional career in Europe who now returns stateside with goals to accomplish.
"Clint provides veteran depth for us in four attacking positions," said RSL General Manager Garth Lagerwey, engineering the team's second roster addition in the last three weeks. "This acquisition, along with that of Robbie Russell on the defensive side, we feel we have reinforced an already strong core of players. Clint had chances to play elsewhere, but his first choice was to come back and play for RSL. We want players that want to be here and firmly believe Clint will be a good teammate and a good addition to RSL."
Mathis, 31, has played 10 seasons professionally in the United States, Germany and Greece since being drafted sixth overall by the Los Angeles Galaxy in the 1998 MLS SuperDraft. During his first five seasons with Los Angeles and the MetroStars (NY/NJ), the University of South Carolina product scored 48 goals in 132 games, including a league-record five goals in one game on August 26, 2000, against Dallas, en route to a 16-goal, 14-assist, MLS Best XI campaign.
"I'm looking forward coming back to Salt Lake," said Mathis, who will wear jersey number 84, paying homage to the August 4, 2008, birthdate of his son, Maximus. "I feel like I have some unfinished business here, and look forward to playing again in front of these great fans and for my former teammate, Jason Kreis."
RSL is currently preparing for the stretch run of the 2008 season, occupying the top spot in the MLS Western Conference since the team's 2-0 home win vs. Columbus on July 12, despite playing just two MLS games since that date and remaining idle the last 18 days. Four of RSL's next five games are away from home beginning Saturday, while seven of the team's 11 remaining regular-season games are on the road. RSL's highly-anticipated move into its new Stadium in Sandy is slated for Thursday, October 9, at 8:00 p.m. MT in a nationally-televised ESPN2 game against the New York Red Bulls.
The team returns to action Saturday against two-time defending MLS champion Houston Dynamo (6-4-8, 26 pts., 2nd Place). Kick-off from Robertson Stadium is set for 6:30 p.m. MT, but fans can witness the battle for Western Conference supremacy by tuning into the KSL 5.3 Digital broadcast (Comcast Ch. 105) at 6:00 p.m. for the America First Credit Union Pre-game Show. RSL fans will also be able to follow the action live via the team's official radio partners: KALL 700 Sports (with RSL First Kick pre-game coverage beginning at 5:30 p.m.) and "Ke Buena" 1600-AM.
Major League Soccer's 2008 roster freeze date is September 15, allowing Real Salt Lake, along with the other 13 teams, to evaluate out-of-contract international players and/or trade players currently within the league until that deadline.