Real Salt Lake sign Colombian rising star Olmes Garcia
Real Salt Lake on Thursday announced the signing of 20-year-old Colombian forward Olmes García, who arrives after two seasons with Colombian side Deportes Quindío.
RSL confirmed that they paid a transfer fee to acquire the player outright from Deportes Quindío on a five-year contract.
García joined the club last Friday in Tucson, Ariz., and already made his debut in the Desert Diamond Cup win over New England on Wednesday night. RSL play for the tournament title against Seattle on Saturday (9 pm ET, NBC Sports Network).
However, despite the commitment made by the club, RSL manager Jason Kreis says he will not rush García into the starting lineup ahead of the 2013 season.
"We don't feel any particular pressure to throw him right into our lineup, not looking for him to make any huge statements over the first several months of the season," Kreis told MLSsoccer.com when asked about his newest player. "But, he could prove us wrong, and show us that he is ready to play, and he'll get opportunities. It all depends on his transition."
WATCH: Olmes Garcia speaks
García's signing is the latest in RSL's efforts to revitalize an attack which failed them in the stretch run of the 2012 season during which the club struggled to score goals.
“We actually were scouting another forward on his team, an older player, and [García] stuck out to us in the matches that we watched, so we watched more and more matches, and every time he had an impact on the match," Kreis said. "He’s got good size, very good speed, and was pretty smart in his tactical awareness. He is a player that has an amazing potential for us.”
“Since January, they were speaking with my agent and thank God the opportunity came through to play for this team," García told FutbolMLS.com in an exclusive interview. "The head coach gave me his unconditional support so that I can be calm and do things right. I want to show all my talent, which is playing good soccer and scoring a lot of goals."
García was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, but grew up in the Chocó region. He joined the Boca Juniors youth set-up in Cali, Colombia. Then in 2011, he debuted with Quindío in the Colombian first division, rising to become one of the most promising players in Colombian soccer to the tune of seven goals in 36 starts.
RSL's new forward adds to a new, young player corps at the club after a four-year run with a veteran lineup. Lagerwey made it clear that patience will be required with this new-look Real Salt Lake.
"We traded away three All-Stars, and we need to replace them, that won't be easy," he said. "We have players who we believe can step up and replace Will Johnson, Jámison [Olave] and Fabián [Espíndola], but I also think it'll take time. We've got younger as a team, and when you're playing a younger team, you have to be patient, be supportive and give them confidence."
Kreis indicated that García will likely not be the last move the club will be making before the start of the season on March 2.
"We're getting very close [to finalizing all players' transactions]," Kreis said. "We might have one or two more small additions. Maybe one, it's not so small."