It won't come as much surprise: Real Salt Lake is home to three of the longest-tenured players in MLS, with Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales and Nick Rimando each having been with the club for eight years. Only Brad Davis at Houston Dynamo has been with a club for a longer period.
Here's the best part: It's hard to see that changing in the next three years. Morales, 35, is a bit older than most field players, so he might retire at some point. But Rimando and Beckerman are both contracted for three additional years.
As we shuffle pieces around and sign new players, our consistency remains one of our trademarks. The team is the star, but more, Beckerman, Rimando, and Morales are the stars with an amazing supporting cast.
Tony Beltran's not far off the list himself, having been at Real Salt Lake since 2008. He's entering his eighth year now, and he's becoming an even more important part of the team. (A one-team player, maybe? We'll see about that one, but we can dream.) Luis Gil is entering his sixth year at the club, as are Jamison Olave, Chris Schuler, and Alvaro Saborio.
It's remarkable, really. As players shift clubs every three or four years, we have a group that's remained consistent. Yeah, there have been changes, and yeah, there will inevitably be more — but it's a testament to everyone involved that some of the best players in MLS have stayed here. It's about Jason Kreis, Jeff Cassar, Garth Lagerwey, and Craig Waibel — and it's about more than just that, too. It's about the players as people and not just figures, and it's about the community.
So, yeah — it's cool. Our longest-tenured three are basically irreplaceable. We've developed our strategy and outlook based on their influence, play, and abilities. The team is the star mentality? That's probably not possible without these three big locker room figures. It's hard to imagine Real Salt Lake without them, and frankly, I'm glad we don't have to any time soon.