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RSL signs former Chicago CB Johan Kappelhof

It’s a move that strengthens RSL’s defensive depth.

MLS: Chicago Fire at Sporting Kansas City Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Update, 1 p.m.: Real Salt Lake announced the signing of Kappelhof.

From a club-issued release, RSL technical director Kurt Schmid:

“We’re excited to welcome Johan to Real Salt Lake. Johan’s experience in Major League Soccer speaks for itself and adds value to our roster. His veteran presence and understanding of what it takes to compete in this league will only enhance the competition within our roster, specifically our back line.”

New signing Johan Kappelhof:

“I’m very thankful for this new opportunity in my career. I’m proud to be a part of this club and even more excited to fight for this team and to play in front of our fans in Utah.”


Real Salt Lake’s center back depth looks to be strengthened in short order, with RSL commentator and SiriusXM FC analyst Brian Dunseth reporting today that the club will be signing Dutch center back Johan Kappelhof.

Kappelhof, 31, would sign as a free agent, having played the requisite years in MLS to be eligible for free movement. He’d been a mainstay at Chicago Fire since signing in 2016, but his minutes in 2020 and 2021 were significantly reduced from his nigh-undroppable time from 2016 to 2019.

While primarily deployed as a center back, Kappelhof has registered 78 appearances throughout his career at right back, according to Transfermarkt, with a smattering of matches at left back and defensive midfield as well.

In a weird twist of fate, Kappelhof would have played alongside former RSL midfielder Albert Rusnak at FC Groningen in 2015. Prior to joining FC Groningen in 2011, he was a part of Ajax’s youth system, though he registered no appearances for their first team.