TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Extension
One of Real Salt Lake's brightest young stars is set to stay in the Wasatch Front for the foreseeable future.
RSL announced Thursday afternoon that they had exercised the purchase option for Jefferson Savarino and signed the 20-year-old winger to a permanent contract following a six-month loan spell from Zulia FC in his native Venezuela. Savarino will continue to occupy a Young Designated Player spot on the RSL roster.
Savarino appeared in 22 games for the Claret-and-Cobalt since signing on loan with the team on May 9, amassing six goals – including an AT&T Goal of the Year finalist – and five assists. His scoring output was key in RSL's second-half turnaround that saw them fall a point short of the playoffs on Decision Day.
"Jefferson was a big part of the reason for the turnaround. What he brings to the field, the dynamic play, his ability to unlock defenses and get forward, the mentality and his ability to combine with Albert and Luis … he has been huge for us," RSL head coach Mike Petke said in a statement provided by the team. "In the long run, I think Jefferson is going to go down as one of the best that we've had."
In addition to his club success, Savarino also made his senior team team debut with Venezuela in a 1-1 draw against the United States at Rio Tinto Stadium. He was also part of the Vinotinto's squad for World Cup qualifying matches later in the year, but did not make an appearance in those games.
"I feel content being here. I'm happy to be here in Utah and I always thank God for being here," Savarino said. "I'm a person who is never content with what I have accomplished. Now it is time to prepare and I will prepare the best that I can during our time off to keep growing as person and as a professional."