Real Salt Lake officially announced the signing of Slovak midfielder Albert Rusnák to a designated player contract at a press conference today.
It’s a move the heads of the club couldn’t help but contain their excitement — from RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen on down.
“This is really exciting,” Hansen said. “As everyone knows, the key to any soccer team is your number 10.”
RSL coach Jeff Cassar called it a “special time” for the club.
“This is a special time for our organization, and I cannot tell you how excited I am for this year,” Cassar said. “Adding somebody with Albert’s quality, he’s young, he’s energetic, but he has an unbelievable amount of experience.”
The 22-year-old playmaker said he was hoping to settle in.
“I’m really honored to be here,” Rusnák said. “I really feel welcomed from the first moment I came here. That helps me to settle in, not just the club, but in the city and the whole RSL family.”
Rusnák said he was surprised to hear of Real Salt Lake’s interest in his signature.
“I could never imagine that an MLS club would know about me,” he said. “Even with the first conversation I had with Craig, I could tell they knew a lot about me, and I could feel the interest from the club.”
That interest sparked Rusnák’s father — a former professional player himself —
“From the first moment I said RSL was interested me, he started watching games from last season,” Rusnák said. “He might know even more than me at this moment, because he spent the last few weeks on his laptop checking everything. ... (He said) there’s really high-tempo football, there’s a lot of quality. He said it’s going to be a step forward.”
Rusnák, 22, joins on a transfer from FC Groningen, where he played since January 2015. His career started at Manchester City FC, where he was a highly vaunted youth player, but he never made the jump to Premier League minutes from the club’s Elite Development Squad youth side.