Transfer Tracker

Real Salt Lake acquire midfielder Matt Crooks from Middlesbrough

Matt Crooks - RSL - transfer


Real Salt Lake have acquired midfielder Matt Crooks from English second-division side Middlesbrough, the club announced Monday.

Crooks, a 30-year-old England native, is under contract through the 2026 MLS season.

"Everyone on the technical staff and in the front office are quite excited to welcome Matt Crooks to Salt Lake," interim chief soccer officer and sporting director Kurt Schmid said in a release. "Matt is a player that should fit in very well on and off the field. He brings size and veteran leadership. He has good feet and his awareness on both sides of the ball really stands out.

"Crooks is always very involved in the final third, always in the mix with the ability to score and set things up. He can combine well and he’s willing to do the work with and without the ball. We always look for good characters and players who will fit in the locker room. He is a good cultural fit and a high-character person who should translate his experiences and skills to MLS."

The vast majority of Crooks' professional experience has unfolded in England's lower divisions, highlighted by spells at Middlesbrough and Rotherham United. He's produced 65g/26a across 341 appearances.

At RSL, Crooks joins a midfield group that's led by Pablo Ruiz, Paraguayan international Braian Ojeda and rising US international Diego Luna. He joins winger Fidel Barajas (from USL Championship side Charleston Battery) and left back Alexandros Katranis (from Polish side Piast Gliwice), among others, as newcomers at RSL for 2024.

"I’m quite excited to make this move, very much the right time and right fit for me," said Crooks. "In speaking to Kurt and the manager while in Portugal, they showed me how we want to play – it's pretty similar to our style at Middlesbrough.

"These are exciting times for MLS. I feel like the league's really growing now, with the World Cup coming over here in a couple of years' time. There's respect for soccer in America at the minute. I'm really looking forward to being a part of it and hopefully I can show everyone what I can do."

Chasing a fourth straight Audi MLS Cup Playoffs berth, RSL's campaign gets underway on Feb. 21 at Inter Miami CF (8 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).