A lot of players have spent time on Real Salt Lake’s roster over the years; some arrived with great fanfare, others merely a mere mention. Some showed promise, while others never saw the field.
Here’s a look at three more former players in our series Where Are They Now.
By the time Saborio arrived at RSL he was already fairly well known in Central America. He had begun his professional futbol career with Costa Rica’s Deportivo Saprissa in 2001, and began playing for the Costa Rican national team only a year later. With Saprissa he had won the CONCACAF Champions Cup (predecessor to the Champions League) in 2005, went to the FIFA Club World Cup and was tied for top scorer of the tournament.
From the recognition he gained on the world’s stage, Sabo moved on from Saprissa to try his skills in Europe. The Swiss team FC Sion signed him in 2006, and he would play 91 games for them across all competitions, including winning the Swiss League Cup in 2009. In 2010 he had attracted the attention of English 2nd Tier side Bristol City, Sion sent him on loan for the last half of that year.
In MLS preseason that year, Sion again sent Sabo on loan - this time RSL was the lucky team, beating out Seattle Sounders for the deal. That first year in Utah Sabo quickly became a fan favorite scoring 12 goals in 27 games. MLS even awarded him Newcomer of the Year. Needless to say, when his loan ended in December 2010, RSL negotiated the buyout from FC Sion.
Sabo quickly became a goal scoring legend at RSL. His most productive years for RSL were 2012-13 which saw him netting a total of 29 goals in 47 regular season games - including three hat tricks. He received his 2nd MLS honor in 2013 winning the Latin American Player of the Year.
Sadly in 2015, RSL was struggling during mid-season. The team made the hard decision to shed Sabo’s Designated Player salary to free up enough money to bring in some new players in hopes of salvaging the season. Sabo was traded to DC United where he remained until the end of 2016 when he opted to decline DCU’s renewal offer and return to his native Costa Rica. He would return temporarily to his original club Saprissa, but a conflict with some fans led to his decision to retire in February of 2017 after only 4 games.
That retirement lasted only 5 months before AD San Carlos convinced him to lace up his boots once again in their push to earn promotion to the Costa Rican 1st Division. Still playing at the age of 38, he is presently their leading scorer in the 2019-20 season with 13 goals.
By the time Eddie Pope joined RSL he was already a household name among US soccer fans. He had been in the league since the start, being the 2nd overall draft pick by D.C. United in 1996. He was also selected for the USMNT during the ‘96 Summer Olympics. He would eventually earn 82 caps for the US, scoring eight times as a center back.
With D.C., he would be instrumental in winning the first ever MLS Cup by scoring the winning goal that year. In 1997 he would win MLS Defender of the Year on the way to a 2nd MLS Cup, and a year later help the team win the CONCACAF Champions Cup (predecessor to the Champions League). Then the injuries started to mount.
Over the next 3 seasons he would spend much of the time recovering from a wide range of injuries. He would continue to play when available, and earned regular selections to the MLS All Star team during that time as well, but DCU decided it was time for some fresh blood. He was traded to the New York Metrostars in 2002 as a package deal with 2 other players in exchange for Mike Petke, a first round draft pick and allocation money.
With New York, he was selected as team captain and would lead the team as the 4th best defense in the league. After 42 games he was traded to RSL in their inaugural year for allocation money.
Although he was only with RSL for 3 seasons, he is fondly remembered by many of the old-time fans for his veteran leadership during the team’s formative years. Pope retired at the end on 2007. He was named to the US Soccer Hall of Fame in 2011.
For several years afterwards he worked as the Director of Public Relations for the MLS Players Union, but in 2015 he joined Octagon Sports talent agency as their Director of North American Soccer.
Pablo had an excellent soccer pedigree. He began his youth career at the age of 14 with Série A side Guarani FC based in São Paulo. After three years taking his knocks and vying for playing time, he joined one of the oldest teams in Brazil, legendary Botafogo in Rio de Janeiro for two seasons. He moved to the United States in 2005 to attend college at Oklahoma Baptist University, playing on the Bison’s soccer team in ‘05 and ’06 before moving on to Fresno Pacific University. RSL brought Pablo to preseason camp before the 2007 season, but he ultimately decided to finish college. He played briefly on the Fresno Sunbirds NAIA soccer team before truly starting his professional career by joining the Fresno Fuego FC, then playing in the USL-PDL.
With Fresno, he won the PDL Southwest title in 2007 and was named the league MVP after scoring 18 goals in 15 games. Campos would continue his relentless scoring the next year ultimately netting 32 goals in 25 appearances. He went to Europe for a year playing in Sweden for GAIS, but he only played 8 games.
His PDL prowess was well remembered by MLS however, and Campos agreed to join the league in 2009. He was placed in a weighted lottery, which was won by the San Jose Earthquakes. However RSL coach Jason Kreis remembered Campos well from 2007 and pressed to bring him to Utah. He got that wish in July just in time for the end-of-season push to the MLS Cup. From July 2009 to 2010 he played 27 games for RSL, but apparently his scoring ability did not translate well to MLS, as he scored only twice for the Quakes and two additional times for RSL.
Campos was a victim of the RSL budget crunch at the end of 2010. He was released and went on to sign with USL’s Carolina Railhawks. His scoring returned to form in the USL with 12 goals in 26 games. In 2012 he signed with the NASL’s San Antonio Scorpions and performed even better winning both the league Golden Boot with 20 goals, and the Golden Ball for league MVP.
Minnesota Stars FC, then also in the NASL, changed ownership at the end of 2012 and was looking to make a big splash in the league. As part of their rebrand as Minnesota United FC, the team also traded for star players, including Campos.
With Minnesota, he played 53 games across all competitions and scored 20 goals. By the end of 2015, he had become the NASL’s leading goal scorer. Unable to reach a contract deal, Campos moved to Miami FC, also in the NASL, for 2016, but only played 16 games and netted one goal. He has since retired from playing and is now a high school soccer coach in Minnesota.