December 19, 2018 / 5:05 PM / 8 months ago

RSL re-signs veteran defender Beltran

FILE PHOTO: Vancouver Whitecaps' Camilo (R) fights for the ball against Tony Beltran of Real Salt Lake FC during the first half of their MLS soccer game in Vancouver, British Columbia August 11, 2012. REUTERS/Ben Nelms

Despite missing the entire 2018 season while recovering from a knee injury, longtime defender Tony Beltran is returning to Real Salt Lake.

The team announced Tuesday it has re-signed the veteran fullback, who is a two-time MLS All-Star and a member of RSL’s 2009 championship team.

“Tony is part of the fiber of this club,” said RSL general manager Craig Waibel in a statement. “Even as our roster evolves with a young core in place, it’s important to have players like Tony who are more than capable in their positions and excellent leaders in the locker room as well.”

RSL drafted Beltran in 2008, and since then he has made 245 regular-season appearances (230 starts) with one goal and 12 assists. The 31-year-old appeared on the team’s reserve list for its final game of the season — a sign that he was fully recovered — but his option was declined following the 2018 season. He was left unprotected in the recent expansion draft.

“I have heard some writers say that the only book that matters is the next one. Now I understand the same holds true in sports. For a long time, I didn’t know if there was going to be another game, the next one, or where that game would be,” Beltran said in a statement. “Next year, RSL and I will continue the journey we started together 11 years ago. The next game will be here, in this city that means so much to me, a place that I’m proud to call home.”

Beltran is one of three remaining RSL players from its ‘09 championship team along with Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando.

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