RSL Extends Contract of MF Will Johnson

Midfielder to remain in Claret-and-Cobalt through 2014 season


Revamped Deal Keeps Talented Midfielder in
Claret-and-Cobalt through the 2014 MLS Campaign

SANDY, Utah (Wednesday, January 12,
2011) – Real Salt Lake General Manager Garth Lagerwey announced today
that the club has extended the contract of midfielder Will Johnson, the
deal keeping the Canadian international in an RSL uniform through the 2014
MLS campaign
. Per club policy, financial terms of the contract will not be

a long-term agreement with Will Johnson is yet another milestone in the
significant steps our organization has taken to keep our core group together as
we compete in CONCACAF Champions League and pursue another MLS Cup title,"
said Lagerwey. “Will has been one of several critical figures in establishing
RSL's competitive culture, and we look forward to seeing him in Claret &
Cobalt for the longer term."

By agreeing to terms, Real Salt Lake ensures
the services of the 23-year-old midfielder through the prime years of his
burgeoning professional career. Johnson, whose name has become synonymous in
MLS circles with a tireless engine and work ethic, has appeared in 63 regular
season games (59 starts) since joining the club in August 2008, tallying four
goals and four assists from the left- and right-sided positions in RSL’s
diamond midfield formation. One of those strikes – a screaming volley from 25
yards into the upper right corner of goal against FC Dallas on Oct. 18, 2008 –
would earn Johnson the 2008 MLS Goal of the Year honor after several rounds of
fan balloting.

think I have a lot of good soccer years ahead of me, and I couldn’t be more
thrilled to be spending the next four of them with Real Salt Lake,” said
Johnson. “I’ve found a home here in Salt Lake and a club with an atmosphere
that I believe is a winning one. I have a lot in common with Jason [Kreis] and
Garth [Lagerwey] in regards to what it takes to win, and obviously that’s my goal.
I want to help take this club forward and spend the best years of my career
here with Real Salt Lake.”

In addition to his regular season exploits,
Johnson has taken the field in all nine of the Utah side’s MLS Cup Playoff
performances (eight starts) across the last three seasons, including a gutsy
45-minute start in RSL’s MLS Cup 2009 victory over the L.A. Galaxy while
suffering from the effects of severe food poisoning. The young midfielder also
knocked in three goals en route to becoming the only RSL player to start all
six Group Stage contests in the 2010/11 CONCACAF Champions League last fall.
His two-goal performance at Panamanian champion Arabe Unido on Sept. 22 helped
RSL achieve a vital 3-2 away victory, the three points helping the Utah side to
become the first MLS team in nine tries to finish atop its group in the
regional club championship.

After serving as a stalwart for Canada’s
Youth National Teams, Johnson has already seen a fair amount of time with the
full Canadian squad, making 13 “caps” at the Senior level since his debut in
November 2005 at the age of 18. Johnson continued to fit into Canada’s plans in
2010, as he appeared in three friendlies for the Maple Leafs, including a
90-minute performance last May against Argentina at the famed Estadio
Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti in Buenos Aires. While he represents
Canada, Johnson holds tri-citizenship (Canada, United States & England),
having been born in Toronto to English parents while being raised in suburban
Chicago since the age of 10.

Johnson began his soccer career by training
in the youth system of English Premier League club Blackburn Rovers FC before
officially jumping to the professional ranks in 2005, when he made six
appearances for the Chicago Fire as an 18-year-old. Johnson followed his
Chicago stint with two seasons in the Netherlands, making 14 appearances for
Dutch Eredivisie (first division) side SC Heerenveen (one goal) in 2006/07
before being loaned the following season to another top-flight outfit, De
Graafschap, for whom he made 39 appearances (three goals).

The contract extension for Johnson marks the
latest move in a successful offseason for the Real Salt Lake Technical Staff,
which has either re-signed or traded for the attacking trio of Costa Rican
international and 2010 MLS Newcomer of the Year Álvaro Saborío, El
Salvadoran international and MLS veteran Arturo Alvarez, and exciting
Brazilian striker Paulo Jr. since the end of the 2010 campaign. Real
Salt Lake will continue building its roster tomorrow, Thursday, January
, at the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, being held in Baltimore in
conjunction with the annual National Soccer Coaches Association of America
Convention. ESPN2 will televise the SuperDraft’s first round from
Baltimore beginning at 10:00 a.m. MT, while will continue the
coverage with a live streaming video feed of the second- and third-round

Fans can secure their
seats now for both Real Salt Lake’s March 1 CONCACAF Quarterfinal Leg Two
fixture against the Columbus Crew
and its March 26 MLS home opener
against the Los Angeles Galaxy
via the “RSL 2011 2-Pack” (beginning
at just $80) and the “RSL 2011 Flex 10-Pack” (beginning at $200). Both
of these special ticket offers, in addition to RSL 2011 Season Ticket Packages,
can be purchased online at,
over the phone at 801-727-2700, or in person at Rio Tinto Stadium
during regular business hours: 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. MT.

Real Salt Lake extends contract of midfielder Will Johnson through the end of
the 2014 MLS season. / /