Real Salt Lake Signs Forward Sam Johnson
SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake announced that they have signed Liberian forward Sam Johnson as a designated player after a transfer from Valerenga in Norway’s first division.
He will join RSL in training camp and occupy an international roster slot pending receipt of his ITC and P1 visa.
“I’m ready for a new challenge in MLS. A lot of clubs came for me, but Real Salt Lake put more effort than the other clubs. I spoke with my advisor, I spoke with mom and some people who follow MLS closely and it was an easy decision for me,” Johnson said. “I feel like I can showcase myself in one of the biggest leagues in the world. I’m excited to be here and I look forward to playing for the fans in Salt Lake City.”
The 25-year old scored 11 goals in 21 matches last season for Valerenga to lead the team in scoring and ranked No. 6 in the league during the Eliteserien season. He also scored two goals for the Liberian National Team in 11 appearances since his debut in 2015 internationally.
“I am happy to welcome Sam to the RSL family. It will be good to get him integrated with the players and staff and up to speed on how we play,” Head Coach Mike Petke said. “The addition of Sam will provide us with a strong option up front and will certainly create further competition on an already deep roster.”
Johnson started his playing career in Liberia before moving to Assyriska IF in Sweden as an 18-year old in 2011. He moved up the European ranks until landing with Sweden’s IK Frej in 2013, where he racked up 17 goals in 50 matches over two seasons.
The following season, he moved to Djurgardens in Sweden’s top division, finishing second in the league with 10 goals. He was transferred mid-season to China, where he played for Wuhan Zall. He scored 11 goals in 26 appearances during that stint.
Johnson has scored 66 goals in 162 league matches, while collecting 69 goals in 180 appearances across all competitions.
“We are excited to add a player of Sam’s quality to our attack. He adds a new dynamic to our front line and he is a great fit for our locker room and his work rate is a great representation of our club and its fans,” RSL General Manager Craig Waibel said. “He is the type of player that fits the vision that we have of defining our roster with a core of young players that can help challenge for great things in our league.”
#RSL signs forward Sam Johnson as a Designated Player
Welcome, Sam 👋
— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) February 4, 2019