Top Stories

RSL set to acquire Will Johnson

Real Salt Lake has emerged as the front-runner to land the services of Canadian striker Will Johnson.

RSL is set to strike a deal with the Chicago Fire for the rights to Johnson, who signed with MLS last week and whose rights are held by the Fire, sources told SBI on Friday. Johnson played for Chicago before going to Dutch club Herenveen in 2006. Details of the deal are still unknown.

RSL would join Clint Mathis as summer acquisitions by a Real Salt Lake squad battling for first place in the Western Conference and seeking the first playoff berth in the club’s history.

What do you think about Johnson joining Real Salt Lake? Think he can make an impact? Disappointed to not see him heading to Toronto FC?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Give the lad a chance! I have watched him play at Liverpool, Blackburn, Toronto & Edmonton ( for Canadians). He is quick, tenacious,a great team player and a true professional. RSL will benefit from his


  2. I agree from watching him he’s more of an AM than a striker.

    Trouble adjusting to Europe but has had plenty of success in concacaf. Sounds like plenty of other current MLS standouts who came back to hone their games before leaving again.

  3. Will Johnson Bio-

    Will is a fantastic striker that played his youth soccer for Chicago Magic and Sockers. During that time he went to Nationals and was involved with the US youth national team. He ended up playing with Canada due to poor paperwork by the US. He would have had more appearances at National Championships, but he left to play with Blackburn Rovers for I believe a year. When he returned it was only a matter of months before he signed with a MLS team. In his first season, he got limited minutes, but he scored a cracker and always was a menace for defenses. In the next preseason he impressed with something like 3 goals in as many games, but the Fire refused to improve his contract. At the time he was constantly involved with Canadian youth and men’s national team. He quickly signed with Heerenveen. He was the leading goal scorer for the young heerenveen team. he helped them win the title. After saying heerenveen wouldn’t keep him for another year, he ended up going on a insane goal streak to help young heerenveen win and he was loaned out to de graafschap. Between both teams, he wasn’t given many minutes. So when people talk about 45 games and 4 goals, look at the minutes. The goals per minute are very good for a young striker. And he has had options with MLS teams, since the day he left Chicago Fire. I jusat hope that RSL’s coach gives the man a chance. When given the opportunity he’s been recognized and always applauded for his great play. If RSL knows what is best, then he should be given a large role. RSL fans need to devote their attention not to who is Will Johnson, but will RSL be smart enough to play him. If they do, they will be sorry, because he will just be picked up by another European team down the road after a few good seasons.

  4. There is no doubt that RSL is getting stronger and founding their strength in youth.

    The Mathis acquisition I don’t understand though — I can’t see what he brings to the team that they don’t already have.

  5. Chileadd-

    dont think we saw tfc fans demanding that he hold out to play for Toronto. itd be nice but a bit ridiculous.

    Sidenote, he must feel some tie as he plays for the canadian national team.

  6. if a player does not want to play for that team then why make them…. no one wnats to play for the fire but are forced too (marmol,conde, now canadian)

    Posted by: lakaix15 | August 22, 2008 at 02:58 PM

    This happens all the time. Welcome to major sports leagues in the United Kingdom of the United States and Canada.

  7. lakaix15 – he didnt want to play for 28k… he went to europe… it has nothing to do with playing for chicago…

    kpugs- your constant attack on fire fans claiming they are whinning or talking trash is getting old…. normally i side with you on most topics (even being a fire fan) but you’ve got to move on…. i can point out in many threads where NY fans complained and whinned more… same goes for any team….

    while johnson may not be the next messi, he shown glimpses of dangerous ability and has seen training abroad… i think he’ll add some much needed depth to a roster of ANY team…

  8. LOL (last post)


    I’ll give the boy a chance!

    Anyway, just wanted to let you all know that the deal has been finalized. Keepin’ It Real has confirmed that Real Salt Lake has acquired the rights to Canadian National Team striker Will Johnson from Chicago for a 4th round draft pick in 2009 and a 2nd round draft pick in 2011.

    We didn’t lose anything, and maybe, if some of you are correct, may have gotten something. I will now shut my pie hole and eat crow.

  9. Chicago still has the MLS rights to Johnson. Chicago offered him a contract after his first year with the team, and he rejected it, so the Fire still hold his rights for now.

    Posted by: Ted | August 22, 2008 at 11:37 AM

    if a player does not want to play for that team then why make them…. no one wnats to play for the fire but are forced too (marmol,conde, now canadian)

  10. Spencer, have you watched any RSL games where Deuchar has played? I don’t understand how you can say he isn’t an aerial threat at all. The man wins a large majority of headers that come his way, and frankly he hasn’t had much in the way of quality service to make the most of his height.

    Hopefully Johnson can play on the wings and start providing that service.

  11. Sin2R

    Johnson has 3 caps fort he full Canadian side and was top scorer in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying group where Canada were beaten semi-finalists.

    He’s more of an atatcking mid than a striker, though he can score. He’s probably your back up for Morales in the short term, but could play in a number of positions. He’s different from the players you have,

    He’s not a complete nobody at all, not by any stretch. he scored one, albeit very good, goal for Chicago first time round as I recall.

    I wish he’d gone to TFC, more for thier side if not from his.

  12. Will Johnson was never a draftee.He came up through the Chicago Fire premiers and was a Chicago discovery (and in truth is a Chicago area product).And the “low ball” offer was what MLS approved for his signing.Its my understanding there is no hard feelings between Johnson and the Fire, the only reason he is not playing for Chicago is lack of roster space for him.

    and for the knuckle heads who think he should “hold out” and demand to play for TFC.. why the hell would he do that?outside of it simply being his place of birth he has essentially no ties to Toronto, his family lives in the Chicago area and that is where he essentially grew up (that and England).

  13. Sin2R, stop acting like such an asshole. Before they came to RSL had you ever heard of Jamison Olave, Javier Morales, or Fabian Espindola? They turned out to be some of the greatest talent RSL has ever boasted. So before you hit that snooze button again, give the kid a chance. If in five games the kid has done nothing for the team, then feel free to bad talk him. But now, before he has even set foot on the pitch, be patient.

  14. Sin2R – Fluke or not, I think RSL has improved by leaps and bounds this year. Johnson can play as an offensive mid or a striker, but I think his natural spot is striker. You might remember him from the Oly qualifiers this year when we played the US. He was playing striker then and was one of our best players. Kinda small but with good speed and changes direction very well. I also hear the reason he came back to North America is he’s making extra cash as Shia Labeouf’s stunt double.

  15. Giaco, typical Fire fan mouthing off. If you are going to tell someone else to do research, do some yourself. Then you tell me how to judge a player who has scored 11 goals in 71 games as far as I could find, and that includes youth internationals.

    I’d LOVE for the Fire to keep him. Just to see you eat some humble pie for being a typical smug Fire fan.

  16. I’m starting to just think this is funny. He’s a “striker.”

    4 goals in 45 games as a pro. 7 goals in 26 games at ALL levels for Canada.

    And teams are actually TRYING to trade for his rights? Good luck RSL.

  17. To those shooting off their fingers (mouths) about research before posts I did. Wasn’t impressed. So I hit the snooze button and went back to sleep. Nothing about this midget striker impresses me. Now, go on “shooting your fat gob.” I dont’ know what that means, but it sure sounds discusting!

    I hope this is one of those mls-rumors rumors that isn’t true.

    BTW – if you want him, please find a way to take him. However, Fire fan, you got nothing I want. Maybe Conde, maybe. TFC fan! Your a joke of a club already. Trading Cunny and then getting Ruiz, oh please! Thats going to work out well for you.

    I’m not saying RSL is the best club or even a good club, I am not, becasue they arn’t. I still like them. I know first place was probably a fluke due to scheduling, and I doubt RSL makes the playoffs… so you don’t need to tell me this already. That said, this kid doesn’t appear to even have enough to make the top 18. All I am saying is that I would like to see good players come to RSL so thay can improve. That is it. Don’t take offense!

  18. Oh sing to us mental yoot,

    I bet if there’s one thing we can agree on it’s this: IF this guy really is/was a nobody, he’d fit right in at RSL! I’m just glad he wasn’t part of the Barrett “future considerations” clause.

    Sin2R, if you don’t want him, I’d be willing to keep him for the Fire. Ossington has a point, you might not kow who he is, but it IS possible that he is a quality player you might not have known about. But a little research before shooting off your fat gob might assure that. But as the chief talent scout for RSL, I’m sure you already knew that.

  19. Sin2R-

    Doing a bit of research (google) might not hurt. If you dont want him we will gladly take him. Hes a Canadian U-20 striker/attacking midfielder that was playing in Holland and has returned. His rights belonged to Chicago, he turned them down when they drafted him and offered him a 28k contract then went overseas. Considering you prob got him for next to nothing and he will most likely turn out to be at very least decent off the bench, i wouldnt cry about it too much.

  20. Brett-

    Im sure it was an allocation and some supplemental picks or something to that effect, nothing big and definitely affordable especially im sure he will come in handy for RSL.

  21. OSM- thanks…. yes we yanks know how that feels… with Adu :-/

    im curious to find out what RSL is offering… as mentioned in a previous thread i dont see the fire holding out on much unless they wish to add him… but with a glutton of forwards (rolfe, nyarko, BMB, Frankowski and Herron) i dont know if hamlett will be too keen to pick him up…. BUT, with the lack of a quality back up for Blanco, its possible that the Fire may in fact choose to pick him up…

    either way, if we dont need him, then by all means send him to a team that does… and i hope we dont hold out to try to drive up the trade, something simple, seeing as its a technicality we are getting him anyhow…

  22. I’ve never really watched him play. If he is a good aerial threat that is good because Deuchar isn’t at all. Someone good to go along side Findley

  23. Brett-

    Fell out of favor when a new coach came to Hereenveen (from what i understand) when he returned from being on loan was told to pack his bags and find a new team.

  24. More of an attacking mid although he plays well as a striker (as he showed in various national tournements). Not sure where he played in Holland. I suspect he will be a depth player more than anything but ya never know. Obviously id like to see him get playing time.

  25. Can some one please tell me how this system works… i thought this allocation sysytem works for americans that are comming to MLS…. now its on internationals too????

    So whats the point of scouting players if there going to have to go thew allocation….

    Posted by: lakaix15 | August 22, 2008 at 11:30 AM

    Chicago still has the MLS rights to Johnson. Chicago offered him a contract after his first year with the team, and he rejected it, so the Fire still hold his rights for now.

  26. Can some one please tell me how this system works… i thought this allocation sysytem works for americans that are comming to MLS…. now its on internationals too????

    So whats the point of scouting players if there going to have to go thew allocation….

  27. what is his reasons for coming back??

    playing time?? home sick?? couldnt cut it??

    i know he’s young, so that’ll be good for Canada’s National squad to have another canadian nats play close to home and get PT…

  28. His Wikapedia biography is not very impressive. I question how much of a factor he will be. I was hoping RSL would be able to pick up a proven commodity but maybe they were beginning to get a bit desperate as the transfer window ends. I hope they didn’t give up too much for him.

  29. I don’t know much about Johnson. What are his strengths/weaknesses? What type of forward is he? RSL definitely needs someone who can finish, although I think they are actually more in need of a creative attacking midfielder. However, I’m glad to see RSL is trying to address their lack of goal production.

  30. yeah, disappointed but it wasnt in the cards (especially as Chicago held them).

    Hope he does well (not against us). Itll be interesting to see how he adjusts to the MLS style and im excited to see him play.

    I wonder what they paid for him.


Leave a Comment