HERRIMAN, Utah – Real Salt Lake interim Chief Soccer Officer / Sporting Director Kurt Schmid today announced the signing of versatile midfielder Matt Crooks, the 30-year-old Englishman transferring stateside from Championship side Middlesbrough. Pending receipt of both a P-1 visa and his International Transfer Certificate (ITC), Crooks is signed with RSL 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,” said Schmid, noting that the 6-foot-4 Crooks joins Kenny Deuchar, Jamison Olave and Kevon Lambert as the tallest players in RSL’s 20-year history. “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 that should translate his experiences and skills to MLS.”
After joining Middlesbrough in July of 2021 from Rotherham United – whom he helped earn promotion from League One in 2020 – Crooks had logged three goals and six assists for ‘Boro to this point in the EFL Championship season. With 56 goals and 22 assists in his 115 total appearances at Middlesbrough, the fan favorite (nicknamed “Tree” since his youth) departs Teesside immediately, with his family to follow this summer.
“I’m quite excited to make this move, very much the right time and right fit for me,” said Crooks, just a few days after RSL added another European transfer – former Greece youth international Alex Katranis – to the 2024 roster as an outside back. “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 football/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.”
“RSL is obviously a tight-knit club. Really close together, similar to what I’ve…