Joel Hawksley, Associated Press
Seattle Sounders forward Fredy Montero is double-teamed by Columbus Crew's Chad Marshall, left, and Rich Balchan in the second half of an MLS soccer game Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011, in Seattle. (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Joel Hawksley)

Real Salt Lake signed the former Columbus Crew defender Rich Balchan on Saturday.

Balchan played in 19 games in his rookie season with Columbus, however the following season he was plagued with injuries and did not appear in any games. The Crew released him in the offseason.

He joined up with RSL Feb. 12 to train with the team at Real's preseason camp at the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup.

Balchan said he is ready to start the season playing with a group of talented players and staff.

"I'm pretty excited," Balchan said. "It's been kind of a long road trying to find a new team, so I'm excited to get back after it. It's a good group of guys and a great staff.

"Whether you're playing in games or if it's in practice, it's all very competitive and we're all going to make each other better so it's just a great atmospere to be in."

Balchan will be available to play when Real visits the defending Supporters' Shield champion San Jose on Sunday.

Whitney O'Bannon is currently a new media sports intern for the Deseret News.