Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando joined an elite club of one on July 6 when he started and played in his 500th regular season match in Major League Soccer becoming the first player in league history to do so.
To conceptualize and internalize the feat, here are 500 words that explain just how great one of the league’s best shot stoppers and passers has mounted an illustrious career.
After a standout collegiate career at UCLA, Rimando began his professional career in 2000 when he joined the Miami Fusion where he featured in 47 matches. After the 2001 season, Rimando was traded to D.C. United where his career really started to generate a buzz and pick up steam. Rimando spent from 2002-2006 in the nation’s capital where he helped United claim its fourth MLS Cup crown in 2004. While with D.C. United, Rimando made 98 appearances en route to elevating his career.
In December of 2006, Rimando was traded to RSL before being traded to the New York Red Bulls the following February. In a quick turn of events, Rimando was then traded back to the Utah side after the sudden retirement of Scott Garlick who at the time, was the club’s first choice goalkeeper. From then, Rimando made his stamp on Major League Soccer beginning in 2007. In total, he has amassed an astounding 355 appearances for RSL, including an MLS Cup title and MLS Cup MVP recognition in 2009, eight MLS All-Star selections from 2010 to 2019 and selection to the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2014 FIFA World Cup squad for the tournament in Brazil.
Rimando’s full list of career accomplishments by the numbers is as follows:
MLS Cup Champion: 2004 (D.C. United), 2009 (RSL)
MLS Cup MVP: 2009 (RSL)
MLS Supporters Shield Winner: 2001 (Miami Fusion), 2006 (D.C. United)
MLS All-Star: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2019 (RSL)
2014 FIFA World Cup: United States
CONCACAF Gold Cup Winner: 2013 (United States)
MLS Games: 500
MLS Wins: 215
MLS Shutouts: 148
MLS Saves: 1667
To put into perspective how distant from the rest of the players in MLS he actually is, Rimando currently sits 24 appearances ahead of the closest active player in MLS who just happens to be RSL captain Kyle Beckerman who currently sits at 476 career appearances. The closest goalkeeper – although no longer active – is Kevin Hartman, who finished his illustrious career with 416 regular season appearances. The closest active goalkeeper in MLS is Seattle’s Stefan Frei who owns 265 appearances which would take him seven full seasons, without missing a match to merely equal Rimando’s milestone.
For more perspective as if you needed any more, the next two highest active goalkeepers are Frei and NYCFC’s Sean Johnson. Combined, Frei and Johnson have appeared in 518 career matches, but trail Rimando in wins 215 to 200, shutouts 148 to 131 and saves 1,667 to 1,647.
Prior to the 2019 season, Rimando announced that the season would be his last and he would be hanging up his boots after an incredible 20-year career. In 2019, Rimando has featured in 15 matches to earn four shutouts. With 15 regular season matches still to play for RSL this season, the opportunity presents itself for Rimando to continue to raise the milestone bar and possibly add to the list of team accomplishments that he has without a doubt, been an integral cornerstone for Real Salt Lake.