SANDY, Utah (Friday, January 15, 2016) – Real Salt Lake has acquired FW Yura Movsisyan as a Designated Player via loan from FC Spartak Moscow in the Russian Premier League, General Manager Craig Waibel announced today. The 28-year-old striker returns to RSL – pending receipt of his ITC from the Russian Federation – after winning MLS Cup with the Claret-and-Cobalt in his final match with the club in 2009, the State of Utah’s lone major professional sports championship since 1973.
“For me, it’s been a long time I’ve been wanting to come back," said Movsisyan, whose 2016 RSL jersey will reprise the #14 he wore with the Utah side from 2007-09. "Obviously Salt Lake was my first choice because it was such a great place for me and my family. I felt at home in Utah. Leaving with a championship – I want to come back and do that again.
"I want to win more championships with Salt Lake – with the club that I was part of the evolution. I was part of the team that went basically from the bottom to being champions. This is what I want to do again and what I’m excited about. For me, it’s an amazing thing to come back.”
The 2016 season will mark the Armenian International’s second stint with RSL, having previously played with Real Salt Lake from 2007-2009, coming to Utah via trade with the then-Kansas City Wizards. In three MLS campaigns on the Wasatch Front, Movsisyan played 53 regular-season matches with the Claret-and-Cobalt, scoring 15 goals while helping RSL to the 2009 MLS Cup title.
Movsisyan owns the distinction of notching a stoppage-time equalizer at Colorado in the 2008 regular-season finale to vault RSL into the postseason for the first time, and notching the club’s first-ever playoff goal a week later against the club’s expansion brethren CD Chivas USA. Movsisyan currently ranks sixth overall in club history with 15 MLS regular-season goals scored.
“Yura is a goalscorer," said Waibel, the former MLS Cup and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Champion now in his first full year as RSL General Manager. "He’s always been a goalscorer and statistically speaking, his numbers are undeniably productive no matter where he’s played. He’s at an age right now and at a point of his life right now, he had a priority with his wife that they wanted to move back to the States. Everything just added up to make sense for him to come. We have an undeniable interest to bring in good soccer players and goalscorers and Yura is one of those. We believe he’s a double-digit goalscorer and we’re really excited to get him back out on the field and start producing.”
After departing RSL and MLS following the 2009 Cup final, Movsisyan made his European debut with Danish Superliga side Randers FC. The 22-year old joined Randers during a midseason break in January, 2010, a buoyant signing for a club that had gone winless in its first 16 games (0-12-4). After playing his first match, Randers then turned the season around and went 9-0-5 in the first 14 games after Movsisyan’s debut, the young debutant finishing the year with seven goals in 13 matches to rescue Randers from relegation. After joining RSL for the club’s Summer, 2010, visit to The White House honoring the Cup-winning side, Movsisyan finished his time in Denmark with 12 goals in 30 matches before transferring to FC Krasnodar of the Russian Premier League in January of 2011.
With Krasnodar, Movsisyan scored in his appearance and finished his first season with 14 goals, ranking fourth overall in the league. He followed that up with nine goals in just 14 matches in the first half of the 2012-2013 season, drawing a transfer to Spartak Moscow after totaling 23 goals in 50 Russian Premier League matches from the middle of the 2010-2011 season to the middle of the 2012-2013 season.
With Spartak Moscow, one of the top teams in Russia, Movsisyan scored three goals in his debut for his first hat trick as a professional (barring MLS reserve games on Sunday mornings in Park City circa 2007-08). Between his two clubs, he scored 13 goals in the 2012-2013 season to lead the Russian Premier League. The following season he again finished fourth amongst Golden Boot leaders in the league, finding the back of the net 16 times in 27 matches, including another hat trick against Zenit St. Petersburg. His torrid goal-scoring rate slowed in 2014-15, but Movsisyan did scored three goals in 11 matches in the most recent Fall/Winter 2015 slate before returning on loan to RSL.
Through 62 matches in Moscow, Movsisyan scored 25 goals, giving him a total of 48 goals in 112 matches in his Russian Premier League career.
In addition to his professional club experience, Movsisyan also boasts 35 appearances for the Armenian National Team, scoring 10 goals since making his international debut in 2010, including a goal in a 2-2 draw with Italy in 2014 World Cup Qualifying.
Originally drafted by the Kansas City Wizards at 18 years old with the fourth overall pick in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft, Movsisyan came to Salt Lake in a trade for a third-round pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft, allocation money and an international roster spot. In 15 matches over two seasons, he scored five goals for the Wizards prior to the trade that landed him in Claret-and-Cobalt.
Now at 28 years old, married with two children, the man who calls Pasadena, Calif., his hometown returns to Rio Tinto Stadium to join a Real Salt Lake team on the eve of the 2015/16 CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal Round, opening the schedule in Monterrey, Mexico, against Tigres UANL on Wednesday, February 24, with the return leg at Rio Tinto Stadium on Wednesday, March 2 (8:00 p.m. MT kickoff).
The general public sale for 2016 season tickets is ongoing. The Rio Tinto Stadium box office is open Mon.-Fri., 10a-6p; more information can be found online at www.RSL.com/Tickets or via the Fan Relations Hotline at 801-727-2702.