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Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake legend, plans to credit those who helped him get inducted into Utah Sports Hall of Fame

Rimando played 13 years with RSL, winning a title in 2009, and cemented himself in the Utah community.

(Michael Mangum | special to The Salt Lake Tribune) Nick Rimando, who retired from Real Salt Lake after the 2019 season, will be inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021.

Nick Rimando doesn’t like to talk about himself. He’s not big on speeches and public speaking in general.

But the former Real Salt Lake goalkeeper — widely considered the best of all time at his position in Major League Soccer — will get out of his comfort zone a bit Monday when he’s inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame.

“There’s so many players and people in this sports community who are part of the Hall of Fame,” Rimando told The Salt Lake Tribune. “So to be with the names of those likes, it’s awesome.”

Rimando will join names like Karl Malone, John Stockton, Gail Miller, Jerry Sloan and Spencer F. Eccles in the hall. The 2021 class consists of him, Jay Don Blake, Haloti Ngata, Courtney Young Johnson and Teri Okelberry Spiers.

The induction ceremony was postponed a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But now that it’s coming up, Rimando has been thinking over the past few weeks about his speech and how he could possibly begin to sum up a 20-year professional career.

He’ll tell some stories about his career, but mainly focus on giving people credit for helping and inspiring him.

“The most important thing for me is touching on the people that helped me get there and why I’m there in the first place,” Rimando said.

Rimando holds the MLS record in games played, wins, saves and shutouts. He spent 13 years with RSL and won an MLS Cup in 2009. He retired from the game after the 2019 season.

Rimando is now a part owner of Beer Bar and Bar X in downtown Salt Lake City, and The Eating Establishment in Park City.

Rimando’s post-playing career led him to a role with the RSL Academy as it goalkeeper coach and club ambassador. He gained an interest for coaching after his retirement plans changed due to the pandemic, and found that he liked working with and developing the next young goalkeepers.

Rimando said his time with the academy so far has been enjoyable because he gets to act as a mentor to the players. His coaching duties, he said, also work around his schedule. He doesn’t travel with the academy team for road games, he said.

The biggest lesson for Rimando The Coach so far? Allowing his goalkeepers the space for their own decision-making on the field rather than just telling them what to do.

“It’s just kind of letting them have their own personality on the field and me not jumping to conclusions and acting like I know everything because I certainly don’t and I’ve learned through my years,” Rimando said.

The bulk of Rimando’s playing career was with RSL, which is currently going through an ownership transition and a coaching search. Rimando said he feels the club, which is currently in the seventh and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, should be better with its current roster, but that the organization as a whole is on the right trajectory under Interim President John Kimball.

“All in all, we’re still in it without an owner, without a permanent coach,” Rimando said. “So things go on. And the guys in the locker, I think they realize that and they’re going to be professional and hopefully they could get a couple of games in a row and get back up those standings.”

Rimando said he’ll have about 50 people supporting him Monday at his induction at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City, including his parents, family members and close friends. He’s already anticipating how he’ll feel once he gets on the stage.

“I absolutely probably 100 percent will cry,” Rimando said. “I’m just an emotional guy and obviously standing up there and having to talk about people in the audience, I think there’s not a doubt that I’ll probably shed more than one tear up there.”

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