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Scott G Winterton, Deseret News, File

Real Salt Lake re-signs GK Nick Rimando to multi-year contract

By Sean Walker, KSL.com | Posted - Jan. 23, 2018 at 12:58 p.m.


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SANDY — The band is staying together.

A week after Real Salt Lake announced that Kyle Beckerman has been re-signed through the 2018 season, the club kept another veteran free agent back into the fold.

Goalkeeper Nick Rimando has re-signed with RSL through 2018, the club announced Tuesday in a move that was initially reported by Goal.com’s Ives Galarcep last week.

"I couldn't be happier continuing my career with Real. This is home and I couldn't fathom leaving this club that means so much to me," Rimando said in a statement from the club. "I was here in the glory days and want to help bring this club back where it belongs. I'm excited to get the season started. We have the coaches, players and potential to do big things."

While full terms of Rimando's contract were not disclosed, the club advised that the keeper's new deal was purchased using targeted allocation money, the league-run mechanism used to lower a player's hit against the salary cap while not occupying a designated player contract. RSL designated players include Yura Movsisyan, Albert Rusnak and Jefferson Savarino.

The 38-year-old U.S. international goalkeeper was reportedly considering the possibility of a move away from Rio Tinto Stadium when his contract expired in December, but he’ll return to man the pipes as Real Salt Lake kicks off the preseason Jan. 27 at the team’s brand-new academy in Herriman.

Rimando owns virtually every major goalkeeping record in Major League Soccer, including career shutouts (137), saves (1,527), wins (196) and minutes played (40,801). He’s amassed a 196-150-106 record in 452 starts during his 18-year MLS career.

Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando (18) makes a save against FC Dallas during a MLS soccer match in Sandy, Utah, on Sept. 24, 2016. (Photo: Nick Wagner, Deseret news)
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando (18) makes a save against FC Dallas during a MLS soccer match in Sandy, Utah, on Sept. 24, 2016. (Photo: Nick Wagner, Deseret news)

On Monday, the Montclair, California native reported to Real Salt Lake preseason training at its brand-new, multimillion-dollar Herriman academy complex, signaling the end of long hours of contract negotiations that will keep the RSL icon in Claret and Cobalt colors for his 12th season — and beyond.

"He's the best goalkeeper in the history of the league," Salt Lake coach Mike Petke said in a statement. "Playing with him in D.C. and winning a championship and seeing those special qualities – he has single-handedly embraced and took that position and become the best goalkeeper in our league's history. I am extremely ecstatic to have him back.

"When you take his veteran leadership and his experience, for me it's vital."

Rimando is one of two signed goalkeepers on RSL's roster, joining Connor Sparrow, the Creighton University product who spent the 2017 season with RSL's second-division Real Monarchs.

Rimando, whose parents still live in his hometown in Southern California, reportedly had interest as a free agent from Los Angeles Galaxy and Los Angeles FC. But the 38-year-old goalkeeper chose to remain with the Claret-and-Cobalt, with whom he’s trained since 2007.

The 35th pick in the 2000 MLS SuperDraft by the now-defunct Miami Fusion, Rimando also played six seasons with D.C. United before joining Real Salt Lake in 2007 in a trade that also brought former teenage wunderkind Freddy Adu to the Salt Lake Valley.

Prior to his pro career, Rimando played two seasons at UCLA, leading the Bruins to the 1999 College Cup title.

Rimando is one of four players from RSL who helped he squad win the 2009 MLS Cup title, including Yura Movsisyan, Tony Beltran and Kyle Beckerman, who re-signed Tuesday.

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