The other half of the legendary Real Salt Lake duo returns.
Real Salt Lake announced Tuesday that the team had reached an agreement to bring back seven-time all-star goalkeeper Nick Rimando for a 12th season and more. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The signing had been expected for some time, with reports surfacing last week that a deal was imminent.
“This is home and I couldn’t fathom leaving this club that means so much to me."
— Real Salt Lake (@RealSaltLake) January 23, 2018
“I couldn’t be happier continuing my career with Real,” Rimando said in a team release. “This is home, and I couldn’t fathom leaving this club that means so much to me. 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.”
Head coach Mike Petke had high praise for the long-time RSL stopper, saying, “He’s the best goalkeeper in the history of the league. 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. You take his veteran leadership and his experience – for me it’s vital.”
With the signing, RSL’s questions surrounding the goalkeeper position have been answered, while keeping the man responsible for a large amount of Real Salt Lake’s success.
Entering his 19th season, Rimando is Major League Soccer’s all time leader in wins (196), appearances (452), minutes (40,801), saves (1,527) and shutouts (137). He is a two-time recipient of the MLS Save of the Year award and picked up MLS Cup MVP honors in 2009 after stopping two penalty shots in the shootout, giving RSL its only MLS Cup title to date.
Despite his age (38), Rimando is still an above average goalkeeper, and rebounded well last season after a rough start to the campaign, as RSL just missed sneaking into the postseason.
As a Real Salt Lake fan, it will be a strange day when we see someone other than Rimando in between the pipes at the Rio Tinto, but I’m thrilled he decided to stay and I believe can be a strength for a team that will be looking to return to the playoffs in 2018.
Much like Beckerman, Rimando is synonymous with RSL and the soccer culture in Utah, and I can’t wait for the day when we get to see our favorite goalkeeper honored. I just hope it’s a few more years down the line.