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RSL to sign Jamaican left back Demar Phillips, pending visa approval

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Demar Phillips, a Jamaican international left back, is set to join Real Salt Lake on a free transfer pending approval of a P1 visa, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed.

Phillips, 31, is a goalscoring left wing back with more than a handful of international goals for the Reggae Boyz. He just ended a five-year spell at Norwegian outfit Aalesunds FK, where he won the Norwegian Football Cup in 2009 and 2011. Before joining Aalesund, he spent a year and a half at Stoke City, where he made only four appearances.

Phillips departs Aalesunds after five years as their starting left back, and he leaves with his contract expiring. The move, as a result, would be a free transfer for Salt Lake.

His Aalesunds tenure was significantly more successful, playing in 135 matches, scoring 17 goals and grabbing 20 assists along the way. The Tippeligaen, Norway's top division, plays a 30-game season, and Phillips played between 15 and 25 matches each season for the club, and he played twice in the club's 2011-12 Europa League campaign. The 2009 season at Aalesunds saw him play alongside former RSL man Khari Stephenson.

At an international level, Phillips has remained involved with the Jamaican national team, most recently winning the 2014 Caribbean Cup on penalties against Trinidad and Tobago. This qualified Jamaica for the 2015 Gold Cup, and one might imagine he'd be involved in that tournament.

It remains to be seen if Phillips will immediately step into a starting role ahead of Abdoulie Mansally, but his high levels of experience may be an early differentiator in the battle for minutes.

The length of Phillips' contract at RSL is not immediately clear.

Phillips joins the club as the second rostered left back following the departure of Chris Wingert, who was selected in the 2014 Expansion Draft. Abdoulie Mansally recently signed a new contract with Real Salt Lake.

Phillips is the third Jamaican player signed at Real Salt Lake since former Reggae Boyz midfielder and RSL original Andy Williams took charge of the club's scouting efforts. In 2013, Lovel Palmer and Khari Stephenson joined the club but only remained for a single season.