The 2016 Major League Soccer season will mark Nick Rimando’s tenth year between the sticks at Real Salt Lake. While goalkeepers aren’t always given the praise that they deserve, Rimando’s influence is certainly appreciated in the Claret and Cobalt dressing room.
“Not always is it recognized outside of this club, but us here,
we know and we’ve known it for a long time how good he is and
how important he is for our team,” Kyle Beckerman admitted.
Although, while goalkeepers tend to be unappreciated,
Rimando has ensured that he will go down in MLS history once he hangs
up his boots. The 36-year-old keeper has claimed an number of awards
throughout his career, including the 2009 MLS Cup MVP award.
Likewise, he has also picked up the MLS Save of the Year award in 2012
and 2013, and turned out for the MLS All-Stars in four of the last five seasons. Although, his biggest achievement to date is his record for the most MLS shut-outs in the league’s history, having amassed an impressive
123 clean sheets throughout his career.
The USA shot-stopper, husband to former Washington Freedom player Jacqui Little, who is well known for his unconventional style of play, started his professional career at Miami Fusion. Few expected him to make an immediate impact for the club, after he was selected via the 2000 SuperDraft, but it wasn’t long before he snatched the starting spot away from former number one Jeff Cassar.
However, just two years after Rimando turned professional, Miami Fusion were one of two teams to be withdrawn from MLS to bring cut down the league’s sky high losses, and he was soon on his way to D.C. United. The shot-stopper was immediately thrown into the starting line-up, and despite losing his spot to Troy Perkins at one point, he proved himself enough to regain it in time to lift the 2004 MLS Cup with the club.
Although, his spell as the club’s number one didn’t last long, as Perkins once again muscled in on the starting berth. Unhappy with a place on the bench, Rimando would transfer to Real Salt Lake in December 2006, only to be traded to New York Red Bulls a few months later, and back again following the sudden retirement of Real Salt Lake’s first choice keeper, Scott Garlick. The club’s decision proved to be a good one, as Rimando shone in what was a disappointing season for the club, and continued to do so in the years that followed.
At Real Salt Lake, Rimando has become one of the league’s best keepers, earning him a place on the international stage. Despite being born to Filipino and Mexican parents, the shot-stopper declared himself available for the United States national team, and has since won a number of call-ups throughout his illustrious career. Despite usually featuring as back-up to veteran goalkeeper Tim Howard, Rimando has proved in the past that he is always ready to step-up when called upon.
While he is now reaching the later stages of his career, having played almost 250 games for the MLS club, Nick Rimando is yet to show signs of decline. He is still a vital part of the Real Salt Lake set-up, and should remain a vital part of the Real Salt Lake set-up for many years to come.