SANDY, Utah (January 10, 2022) - Real Salt Lake has re-signed forward Justin Meram to a two-year contract ahead of the 2022 Major League Soccer season, the Club announced today. Meram returns to RSL for his third season having joined the Utah team prior to 2020.
“Since his arrival in Salt Lake ahead of the 2020 season, Justin has been a valuable contributor to our team.” RSL General Manager Elliot Fall said. “Ensuring his return for 2022 was a priority for us this offseason and we’re very pleased we were able to get it done. Justin will provide Pablo and his staff another proven attacking option for our group moving forward.”
Meram, 33, has 48 goals and 44 assists in 295 career MLS regular season matches across 11 seasons in the league. In 2021, Meram notched two goals and five assists in 31 appearances for RSL following a three goal, three assist 2020 season in Utah. On November 7 in Kansas City, it was Damir Kreilach’s 95th-minute goal off a scuffed bicycle kick from Meramproviding the difference in a 1-0 win to earn postseason qualification. That win at Sporting Kansas City was RSL’s second straight victory away from home, following a comeback 2-1 win at Dallas on October 27, one that saw Meram again assist on both goals in the final 10 minutes. Meram also assisted Bobby Wood’s match-winning strike in the Western Conference Semifinal again at Sporting Kansas City that sent RSL through to its fifth conference final since 2008.
In addition to his late-season heroics, on November 23 in Seattle, Meram was slated to step up for the 6th penalty in the sudden-death tiebreaker, but encouraged homegrown centerback Justen Glad to step up, hit the shot and eliminate the heavily-favored Sounders FC in dramatic fashion.
His top seasons came in 2016 when he had five goals and 13 assists and 2017 when he notched 13 goals and seven assists. From 2014-2017, he averaged 8 goals and 7.3 assists in 32.5 matches for Columbus before departing prior to the 2018 season. He also has three goals and three assists in 19 MLS Cup Playoff matches, three goals and five assists in 16 matches in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and made two appearances in CONCACAF Champions League. Originally selected 15th overall in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, he made his MLS debut in the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals against Real Salt Lake.
“I’m so thankful and blessed to re-sign with RSL,” Meram said. “The organization and fans have treated me and my family incredibly well since I joined in 2020. I’m thankful for my relationship with Pablo [Mastroeni] and the coaching staff for their belief in me. I’m ready for 2022 and to push for a championship with this Club.”
Internationally, Meram made his debut for Iraq in 2014 and has since accrued 33 caps with four goals to his credit. Three of his four goals came in 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
As of January 10, 2022, Real Salt Lake’s current roster headed into 2022 listed alphabetically by position is as follows:
Goalkeepers (3): Jeff Dewsnup, Zac MacMath, David Ochoa
Defenders (8): Andrew Brody, Toni Datkovic, Zack Farnsworth, Justen Glad, Bret Halsey, Aaron Herrera, Erik Holt, Marcelo Silva
Midfielders (4): Nick Besler, Maikel Chang, Damir Kreilach, Pablo Ruiz
Forwards (6): Bode Davis, Chris Garcia, Jonathan Menendez, Justin Meram, Rubio Rubin, Bobby Wood
Real Salt Lake finished the 2021 season in dramatic fashion, booking its place in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs on Decision Day before making a run to the Western Conference Final following a 14-14-6 regular season record. RSL will open the 2022 season on the road against Houston Dynamo FC on February 27 before returning to Rio Tinto Stadium for the home opener against Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday, March 7.
TRANSACTION: Real Salt Lake re-signs forward Justin Meram on January 10, 2021.