SANDY — Ned Grabavoy has been an integral part of Real Salt Lake's success over the past three years, and often an unsung hero in the success.
Earlier this month the midfielder signed a new contract with RSL that could keep him around for up to three more years.
During an offseason of uncertainty, Grabavoy is glad to still be around.
"It's difficult sometimes when the club's stuck with different decisions to make, and some guys have to go, and trying to sign certain guys and trying to get everything to fit in the salary cap," said Grabavoy. "Obviously, I couldn't be happier to be a part of it, this is my fourth year here. Hopefully continued success and more trophies to come."
Grabavoy's contract is a one-year deal with option years the next two. It's hard to imagine RSL not exercising those options in 2013 and 2014 on a versatile player like Grabavoy who's happy in Utah.
"I know my role and I'm content with that, and I know what I need to do to help the team be successful, and I'm happy doing that," he said.
In the past couple years, there's been some wonder about if RSL would lose Grabavoy in the expansion drafts. His veteran presence seems like it could've helped teams like Vancouver and Portland last year, or even Montreal this upcoming year.
Grabavoy said he took steps to make sure he wasn't taken.
"With the expansion stuff, it's all kind of a game a bit. Sometimes if you go to a team and tell them you're not really interested, teams will stay away. If you only have 10 picks, there's no point in picking guys who don't want to be there," said Grabavoy. "That obviously didn't work for Brian Ching, but that's kind of the route I've taken when I've been unprotected."
With no MLS expansion teams on the horizon, Grabavoy doesn't have to worry about that in the coming years.
SILVER LINING: If last season taught Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis anything, it's that you take the good with the bad.
The bad this preseason is seeing Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Nat Borchers, Will Johnson and Alvaro Saborio all limited to jogging and stretching the first two practices. That's $1.25 million in assets that aren't on the field.
Kreis isn't too concerned though as most should be back to full training within a few weeks, and by April everyone should be contributing.
One player Kreis doesn't have to worry about this preseason is Jamison Olave, which is great news.
"I feel 100 percent. No pain, no injuries," said Olave.
RSL's hulking center back has dealt with troublesome knees since he joined the team in 2008, and often the coaching would let him skip training sessions on turf to give his knees a break. During Friday's training session though, Olave was out there on the Spence Eccles Field House turf just like everyone else.
MINOR PROCEDURE: RSL team doctor Andrew Cooper is holding Morales out of training this week, and it has nothing to do with the ankle he fractured last year. During the offseason Morales had a minor operation to clean up a bone spur on one of his Achilles.
Morales said it had been bothering him the past two years, often later in the season during the 10-month grind of MLS.
If the procedure was indeed a success, Morales could be a fresher player later this season as Real Salt Lake battles for playoff positioning and competing in the CONCACAF Champions League group games.
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