On April 11, Real Salt Lake bolstered its defensive corps with the acquisition of rookie defender Chris Estridge via a trade with Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the Utah side sending a conditional 2013 draft selection to the Canadian side in exchange. As part of the acquisition, RSL and Estridge agreed to a four-year contract; per club policy, financial terms of the deal will not be disclosed.
The 22-year-old Estridge was selected by Vancouver in the second round (21st overall) of January’s 2012 MLS SuperDraft following a four-year collegiate career split evenly between Indiana University and Wake Forest University. Estridge was released by Vancouver during its preseason and entered RSL’s radar screen last month, the Utah side giving the outside back an extended trial that included appearances in MLS Reserve League play across the first month of action.
“It’s a great feeling to find a home in MLS with Real Salt Lake and to be a part of what is a great squad here,” said Estridge. “I know my work will be cut out for me in regards to getting time on the field, but I want to do anything and everything I can to help the team progress and accomplish its goals this season and beyond.”
After coming off the bench exclusively and switching between three positions for Wake Forest during his first two collegiate seasons (26 appearances), Estridge became an instant starter at outside back after transferring to Indiana, where he was penciled into the started XI for 40 of his 42 appearances for the Hoosiers.
The native of Brownsburg, Ind., earned First Team All-Big Ten Conference and NSCAA First Team All-American honors after his standout senior campaign last fall. Estridge scored three goals and added five assists out of the backline in 2011 while helping the Hoosiers to the Round of 16 in the 2011 Men’s College Cup, where IU lost to the eventual champion North Carolina Tarheels – including new RSL teammate Enzo Martinez – in overtime.
#25 CHRIS ESTRIDGE
Height: 5’11’’ Weight: 160 lbs.
Born: September 21, 1989 in Brownsburg, IN
Hometown: Brownsburg, IN
College: Indiana University/Wake Forest University
MLS Experience: Rookie
Last Club: Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2012)
Year School GP/GS G A
2011 (senior) Indiana 22/22 3 5
2010 (junior) Indiana 20/18 0 1
2009 (sophomore) Wake Forest 19/0 2 0
2008 (freshman) Wake Forest 7/0 0 0
Totals 68/40 22 20
Collegiate/Club: Split four years of college play down the middle, starting with two years at Wake Forest University before ending his career at Indiana University … Went from off-the-bench utility man at Wake Forest to a starting outside back at IU, appearing in the first XI in 40 of his 42 contests with the Hoosiers after being used exclusively as a substitute in his 26 games with the Demon Deacons … Earned NSCAA All-America First Team and All-Big Team Conference First Team honors following his senior season in 2011, when he helped the Hoosiers to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Men’s College Cup tournament … While performing as a four-year standout for Brownsburg (IN) H.S., also played three seasons of club soccer with the Carmel Cosmos, coached by former professional and U.S. MNT goalkeeper Jurgen Sommer.