REAL SALT LAKE ACQUIRES 2013 MLS SUPERDRAFT SELECTION IN TRADE WITH D.C. UNITED
Utah Side Collects Future Third Round Pick in Exchange for DF Robbie Russell
SANDY, Utah (Tuesday, November 29, 2011) – Real Salt Lake and D.C. United today announced a trade that sent defender Robbie Russell to the Nation’s Capital in exchange for United’s natural third round selection in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft.
“Firstly, I want to thank the players, fans and the RSL organization, all of whom have been so amazing to me over the last three-and-a-half years,” said Russell. “There are a lot of really great guys on this team and I’m going to miss all of them, and I wish the Real Salt Lake organization all the best in the future and know they will continue to do well in the coming years.
“I would have loved to finish off my career with Real Salt Lake, and Rio Tinto Stadium and the Salt Lake area will always hold a special place in my heart, but it wasn’t in the cards,” continued Russell. “It’s a bittersweet departure, but sometimes you come to a point in your career where there is a better situation for your family, and this is indeed one of those times.”
Russell leaves Real Salt Lake as a permanent fixture in club lore, as the 32-year-old right back converted the clinching penalty kick that gave the Claret-and-Cobalt a 5-4 PK victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy and their first MLS Cup title back on Oct. 22, 2009 at then-Qwest Field in Seattle. Real Salt Lake convinced the one-time Duke University standout to return to the United States to continue his career during the summer of 2008, signing the nine-year veteran of four European clubs to a Senior Roster contract that July from Danish Superliga side Viborg FF.
“We cannot thank Robbie enough for his contributions to Real Salt Lake during the last four seasons,” said RSL General Manager Garth Lagerwey. “Robbie came in during the 2008 season and helped change our team and locker room into one that embraced a winning culture and consistently competed for championships. Robbie’s conversion of that clinching penalty in the 2009 MLS Cup not only gave our club its only title, but more than any other moment symbolized our ascension into the ranks of contenders.
“Moving a key veteran on from RSL is never an easy decision to make, but the salary budget restrictions are cruel and it was going to be nearly impossible to keep Robbie heading into next season,” continued Lagerwey. “In making this move we are reuniting Robbie with his wife, who has lived apart from him in Washington, D.C. for most of the past two years. We are also remaining consistent with our ideal of helping players toward the end of their careers get to the place where they would like to finish their careers, as we did with Clint Mathis after the 2009 season. We believe that our player-friendly culture gives us the best chance for success as a small market team in a big market world, and we wish Robbie continued success and our deepest gratitude for what he helped create here at Real Salt Lake.”
Russell started 68 of his 78 regular season appearances for RSL and tallied a goal and nine assists, including a pair of helpers during the 2011 campaign, when he registered personal-bests during his time in MLS with 22 starts and 26 appearances (1,809 minutes). Russell was also a regular contributor in some of RSL’s most important contests, having played in 12 of the squad’s 13 career playoff MLS Cup Playoff contests (0G, 2A in 10 starts) and in 10 of the team’s 12 CONCACAF Champions League contests in the 2010/11 competition, including five of the six Championship Phase matches this past spring.