SANDY, Utah (Wednesday, January 11, 2017) – Real Salt Lake announced on Wednesday that the club has re-signed DF Chris Wingert, bringing the versatile veteran defender back for a tenth season with RSL and 14th season in Major League Soccer.
“We brought Chris back last season to bring depth to every position on our back line and provide a veteran presence in the locker room. As he showed throughout the year, he is still a capable contributor and bringing him back for the 2017 season is a positive in all aspects,” Real Salt Lake General Manager Craig Waibel said. “He is a positive influence in the locker room and on the field.”
Wingert, 34, got his professional career started in MLS in 2004 with the Columbus Crew and went on to play for the Rapids before landing with RSL in a mid-season trade in 2007. He played eight seasons with Real Salt Lake before departing for a one-season stint with his hometown New York City FC in 2015. Following the club’s inaugural season, he returned to the Wasatch Front in 2016 and now enters his 10th season with the Claret-and-Cobalt.
The Babylon, New York native has served as a cornerstone for Real Salt Lake on the field, in the locker room and in the Utah community, logging 224 career matches with the club. In that time, he has one goal and 14 assists, playing mostly in a left back role. In 2016, he started in 18 of his 20 appearances. In addition, he started in RSL’s playoff match, giving him 19 starts in the club’s 22 all-time playoff matches.
Transaction: Real Salt Lake re-signs DF Chris Wingert.
RSL opens its 13th MLS campaign at home against reigning Eastern Conference Champions Toronto FC at 2:30 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday, March 4. The complete 2017 MLS regular-season schedule, along with the national television schedules for the U.S. and Canada, will be announced in January, prior to the 2017 SuperDraft presented by adidas (Fri., Jan. 13 in Los Angeles).
Season Tickets for Real Salt Lake's 2017 campaign at Rio Tinto Stadium are now on sale; please visit www.RSL.com/tickets/royalty or call 844.Real.Tix for more information. An overwhelming percentage of current Season Ticket Members have renewed prior to the early deadline, with several hundred STMs looking to upgrade locations and add seats for RSL's 13th year.
On Saturday, March 11, Real Salt Lake – which returns nine of 11 starters (including club icons Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando, as well as leading scorers Yura Movsisyan and Joao Plata) from 2016 and a core of 16 players for Head Coach Jeff Cassar after qualifying for the postseason for the eighth time in nine seasons – travels to Toyota Park in Chicago at 12:00 noon MT, visiting the Fire in that club’s home opener.
The March 4, 2017 date against Toronto will mark the club’s earliest non-CONCACAF Champions League opener in its 13 seasons. All-time, RSL is 5-0-7 in its previous 12 home-opening MLS matches, including a 4-0-4 mark at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, dating back to 2009. Only once before – on March 29, 2008 at Rice-Eccles Stadium – has RSL opened its MLS season with a contest on Utah soil.
RSL boasts an all-time 7-1-0 mark at home against Toronto FC, outscoring the “Reds” 19-8 and amassing seven consecutive victories since losing 1-2 on a late Collin Samuel penalty kick on July 4, 2007, at Rice-Eccles Stadium. In the clubs’ lone 2016 meeting, RSL dropped an 0-1 decision at remodeled BMO Field, as FW Toussaint Ricketts scored his first MLS goal for the 68’ game-winner.
The 2017 Real Monarchs / USL season kicks off in April. Season Tickets for the Real Monarchs third season in 2017 are now on sale; please call 844.Real.Tix for more information. Coming in late Summer, 2017, Real Salt Lake's regional training center opens in Herriman, Utah, approximately 20 minutes southeast of Rio Tinto Stadium.
The $50 million facility will serve as the daily training home beginning in 2018 for both of the club's professional teams – RSL (MLS) and Real Monarchs (USL) – while centralizing the club's U-18, U-16 and future U-14 development academy youth selections. The Herriman facility will provide adjacencies for an on-site charter school opening in Fall, 2018, with STEM disciplines (Science/Technology/Engineering/Math) for nearly 300 boys and girls.
In mid-November in North Logan, Utah, RSL Owner Dell Loy Hansen broke ground on the first of a half-dozen regional training centers across Utah and Arizona to be built in the next 2-3 years. Each $5 million RTC houses a classroom, as well as an indoor and outdoor field, dedicated to fulfilling a curriculum dedicated to the club's vision and mission for youth soccer training and education, and the continued development of both recreational and competitive pre-Academy (ages 7-12) initiatives across Utah and Arizona.