New RSL striker Sebastian Jaime arrives in Salt Lake
Dell Loy Hansen stood near the base of the escalator, a few feet away from the baggage claim area inside Terminal 2 at Salt Lake City International Airport Friday morning. Off to his right were two families welcoming home LDS missionaries, balloons in hands with an elongated, yellow sign patched with smiley faces and warm words.
It was 10:06 a.m. The flight carrying Real Salt Lake’s newest Designated Player had landed from Atlanta. Hansen and other RSL front-office staffers religiously scanned the faces on the downhill escalator. The cargo, 27-year-old Sebastian Jaime, a versatile Argentinian forward penned to fortify RSL’s goal-scoring capabilities this season — and for further seasons — was to walk down the moving steps and embrace RSL’s owner and solidify his move.
But faces came and went. Time passed by. Eventually a phone rang. It was Jaime. He notified RSL officials he was all packed and ready to go on the sidewalk with a carrier cart stacked at least seven suitcases high. With him, partner Ana (who also happens to be very close to delivering twins) and her mother. RSL’s owner made his way through the double doors and out toward the sidewalk where Jaime stood.
RSL’s big splash, that high-profile move the fan base was in a tizzy over, was on the ground in Utah.
Exactly two weeks after the club officially announced the signing of Jaime from Chilean club Union Espanola, the Argentinian striker calmly posted up outside the airport in Salt Lake speaking Spanish with Hansen. It was a moment two years in the making. First identified as a possible target for RSL in 2012, Jaime’s stock soared while he poured in goals playing for Union Espanola early on. He scored 39 for the club in 124 appearances during his time with the Santiago-based organization.
The price soared, too.
But head scout Andy Williams kept tabs on Jaime and kept in the ear of general manager Garth Lagerwey. In July, Lagerwey told Hansen he wanted to go to Santiago to watch Jaime play. He did, as did RSL coach Jeff Cassar. Though RSL thoroughly scouts leagues all over the world for potential additions, Jaime was the first player Lagerwey presented to Hansen about charging after.
"We saw Jaime as what would have been one of our best choices anyway," Hansen said. "I’ve looked at the tape and he’s pretty to watch: He’s got great [ability] with both feet, great energy, good on defense, an active player, kind of seems from what we can tell to fit our culture really well."
RSL’s owner has never shied away from saying he’d pony up if the time was right. This was for RSL.