Real Salt Lake made Nick Rimando’s re-signing official Tuesday morning, announcing a new multiyear contract before the team’s first full preseason training session. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“This is home, and this is where I wanted to be,” Rimando said after training Tuesday.
Rimando, 38, began talks with RSL before the end of the 2017 season and entered free agency in the offseason. The team’s general manager, Craig Waibel, told The Tribune last month that he was “extremely confident” negotiations with Rimando would reach a “positive outcome,” but it took until this week for those expectations to come to fruition.
Over the course of his 18-year MLS career, Rimando has set the all-time goalkeeping records for saves (1,527), shutouts (137), wins (196), starts (452) and minutes (40,801).
“I wanted to be here the whole time, but there were opportunities elsewhere,” said Rimando, a Montclair, Calif. native. “I think everyone knows in California there were two teams that were barking, and it was intriguing to go back home and where I grew up and where I played college ball, but just thinking about it ... [there were] numerous reasons I wanted to be here, from friends and family, and this club, what they’ve meant to me, and it was a no-brainer when the decision came down if I wanted to be here or in California.”
Real Salt Lake originally acquired Rimando, along with Freddy Adu, in a trade with D.C. United in December 2006. Two months later, RSL traded Rimando to the New York Red Bulls, and then quickly brought him back when Scott Garlick retired ahead of the 2007 season.
With Rimando between the goalposts, RSL won the 2009 MLS Cup and reached the finals in the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League, 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and 2013 MLS Cup.
Both of those MLS Cups, as well as the 2009 Eastern Conference Final, were decided in penalty kicks, and RSL had the king of PKs in goal. Rimando has saved 30 out of 81 penalty kick attempts all-time, made three saves in the conference final shootout and two in the Cup to claim the 2009 title.
Rimando, a six-time MLS All-Star, has also earned 22 caps and kept five clean sheets for the United States national team. He served as the third-string goalkeeper in World Cup qualifiers this past fall.
“It’s amazing, Nick and Kyle [Beckerman] together,” RSL coach Mike Petke said of the pair of veteran leaders RSL signed in the past week. “... I knew it was going to get done, but as a coach I’m very greedy and selfish in certain things, and I don’t take into account the numbers game, the budget, the agents that are involved. I just want things done.
“So it took a little longer than I wanted it to because I’m impatient, but I knew it would get done and it’s a relief to know signatures have been signed and they’re both here.”
Pair of players miss training
Yura Movsisyan and Sunday Stephen were absent from training Tuesday.
“We are currently working on a solution that is best for Yura and the club together,” Petke said of the striker who has been open about his disappointment in his lack of playing time in Petke’s tenure.
As for Sunny, Petke said he would echo New England Revolution general manager Mike Burns’ comments to MLSsoccer.com about Lee Nguyen, who also missed his team’s first on-field preseason session.
Burns told MLSsoccer.com that Nguyen had failed to honor his contract by not reporting to training, and the team had spoken with the league and would handle the matter internally.