SANDY, Utah (Wednesday, February 3, 2016) – Real Salt Lake General Manager Craig Waibel announced on Tuesday that the club has acquired DF Chris Wingert off of waivers.
“There are a lot of reasons bringing Chris Wingert back to Real Salt Lake makes sense. His versatility brings depth and strengthens every position on our back line and he is a solid veteran leader that can mix well with the team,” Waibel said. “As we build the team for this season, we want to make sure we get the culture of the locker room right and with Chris we know that he adds a very positive influence.”
Wingert played eight seasons with Real Salt Lake, coming to Utah via trade with the Colorado Rapids in 2007, arriving in the Wasatch Front three months after GK Nick Rimando, two days before MF Kyle Beckerman and six weeks prior to MF Javier Morales.
Wingert and this quartet changed the competitive culture of RSL under former bench boss Jason Kreis and then-assistant Jeff Cassar, now RSL’s head coach. The Babylon, New York native served as a cornerstone for the Claret-and-Cobalt on the field, in the locker room and in the Utah community until his departure via the Expansion Draft following the 2014 season.
In 204 matches for the club, he had one goal and 14 assists, playing mostly in a left back role. His 30 starts in 2014 matched his single-season career-high, while his 2,547 minutes were the third-most in a season in his career. In addition, he started in both playoff matches, giving him 18 starts in RSL’s 21 all-time playoff matches.
“I’m very excited. Craig and Jeff worked hard to make this happen and fortunately it all worked out and it was great news,” Wingert said. “It’s a little bit surreal. I’m just pumped up to get back with the guys and get rolling.”
The 33-year-old defender played 2004-2005 with the Columbus Crew and 2006-2007 with the Rapids along with his one season with NYCFC in 2015. In his lone season in his home state of New York, he started in 26 of his 27 appearances, good for third-most starts for the expansion team.
In addition to his success on the field, Wingert was also a vital portion off of it. He was named RSL’s Humanitarian of the Year in 2013 and regularly played a role in the club’s community ventures.
With Wingert and Yura Movsisyan arriving in recent weeks, they join Beckerman, Rimando, Morales, Tony Beltran and Jamison Olave as the seven current players who lifted MLS Cup in 2009, the state of Utah’s lone major league professional championship team in over 40 years.
Real Salt Lake is in the middle of preseason camp and Wingert will join the team ahead of the next trip to Tucson, Arizona, on Sunday. The season kicks off on February 24 when RSL will face UANL Tigres in the Quarterfinal Round of CONCACAF Champions League.
TRANSACTION: Real Salt Lake acquire defender Chris Wingert off of Waivers on Feb. 3, 2016