The 2008 version of the Real Salt Lake roster will be vastly different from that of last season as the team continues to make offseason moves. One new name became clear Wednesday as the club's first major signing took place. Ian Joy, a 26-year old defender that is a native of San Diego but has spent most of the last 10 years playing overseas, was signed to a senior roster spot.

"Ian brings a wealth of knowledge of playing at a high level and at the international level," said RSL coach Jason Kreis. "One thing we really liked about him was he has a real fighting spirit. Obviously, he has some ability, but we also brought him in because we feel he can be a real leader."

With the retirement of Eddie Pope, and with the team giving up 45 goals last season, tied for third-worst in the league, the club was looking to get help along the back line. Kreis feels Joy, who plays at left back, is a key piece of that puzzle.

"Through his signing, and one more that we hope will be coming soon, and with the draft, we feel that we have shored up the defense," added Kreis.

Joy comes to Real after spending the last three seasons with St. Pauli of the German 2 Bundesliga (second division). He said there were many reasons for wanting to return to his homeland, but the main reason was a personal goal.

"Major League Soccer has always been a dream of mine, and I didn't want to be 30 years old and finishing my career when I joined," said Joy in a released statement. "I still want to learn and, in the meantime, help our players with the experience I have gained over my years in European soccer."

He probably could have played for nearly any MLS team, but thought that Real was the perfect fit for what he needed and can offer.

"Why Real Salt Lake? Well, I love a challenge and I think that with a great staff behind you, a great coaching staff pushing you and the right players there is a great chance of success." he said. "I have come to Real Salt Lake to do the best I can, to become a better soccer player, and learn from the coaches, but most importantly I have come to win. It's in my blood and I will do anything it takes to walk off the field after every game a winner."


E-mail: mblack@desnews.com