SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Nick Rimando knew this day was coming, but after 20 years in MLS, the last 13 with Real Salt Lake, the Wall of the Wasatch has come to grips with reality.
Rimando will play his final regular season home game this Sunday against the Houston Dynamo.
“I think these last few months have been really emotional for me, just knowing the end is near,” said Rimando, who announced this would be his last season at beginning of the year. “In any athlete, you just know when it’s time. Obviously, I have to listen to my body to have these two beautiful kids next to me that I want to be able to throw a football with. I want to be able to enjoy their lives.”
Rimando owns virtually every MLS goalkeeping record. From victories, to shutouts, to saves to games played, not to mention being an 8-time all-star, Rimando will go down as the greatest MLS goalkeeper of all-time.
“They all mean something,” Rimando said about his numerous records. “But again, I keep talking about longevity. I think just playing so many games is the one that stands out.”
Of all the memories he has created over the years, from winning the MLS Cup to being a part of a World Cup team, Rimando says being a soccer dad is his favorite.
“Seeing my kids jump over the fence and run to me,” he said before shedding a few tears. “Just seeing the way they look at me, that they’re proud of me.”
As if RSL fans would ever forget Nick Rimando’s name when they came to watch the team play, now they really won’t with the newly renamed Rimando Way on the north side of Rio Tinto Stadium.
“It’s truly special to me to know that there’s a little part of me here always.
But he’s not done yet. Rimando hopes he can cap his career with a storybook ending.
“Yeah, of course everyone wants to go out winning,” he said. “But just reflecting on everything that I’ve done in this sport. To give those fans one last trophy would be amazing.”
RSL hosts Houston on Sunday before wrapping up the regular season next weekend at Vancouver.
If the team finishes in the top four of the Western Conference standings, RSL would host a first round playoff game.