RSL signs Dutch midfielder/forward

RSL signs Dutch midfielder/forward

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SANDY -- Real Salt Lake officially announced Tuesday the signing of MF/FW Rachid El Khalifi to a three-year deal through the 2012 season, ending weeks of speculation regarding the services of the Dutchman.

El Khalifi joined Real Salt Lake for his first practice with his new squad Tuesday morning and will be available for RSL's upcoming match this Saturday, August 1, at the Chicago Fire.

He has been on Real Salt Lake's radar since this past spring, when the 30-year-old spent two weeks on trial with the squad during its opening preseason camp in Southern California.

"We liked Rachid in preseason and he fit in well with our group, but we weren't sure he was the perfect match as a tucked in midfielder in a diamond system," explained Real Salt Lake General Manager Garth Lagerwey. "With our switch to a 4-3-3 formation we needed wide players, and Rachid has played in this system his entire career. Adding him for our stretch run gives us a reliable, committed, and veteran player who has excelled in big games."

The Rotterdam native has spent his entire 10-year career in the Dutch Eerste Divisie, scoring 33 goals across 260 appearances in The Netherlands' second flight.

Most recently, El Khalifi plied his trade with SC Cambuur-Leeuwarden from 2007-2009, scoring seven times across 64 matches in two seasons of play.

El Khalifi was a key component in Cambuur's successful 2008-09 campaign that ended in early June, helping the squad to 20-9-9 record, a third-place finish in the Eerste Divisie's regular season standings, and the brink of promotion to the top-level Eredivisie.

Prior to his days with Cambuur, El Khalifi spent two seasons with FC Emmen (2005-07) after beginning his career with a five-year spell at FC Dordrecht (2000-05).

Per team policy, financial terms of the deal will not be disclosed. El Khalifi will classify as an International player for Real Salt Lake, which now has two Senior spots remaining on its 24-man roster.

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