A Brazilian midfielder, whose career has taken him to leagues in five countries, will make his Major League Soccer debut this season. Real Salt Lake signed Everton Luiz on loan from Italian Serie A club Societa Polisportiva Ars et Labor (S.P.A.L.), the club announced Monday. Luiz will be in Salt Lake for the 2019 season.
The 30-year-old midfielder played for several international clubs before joining S.P.A.L. for the 2017-18 season. He previously played for Ponte Preta, Palmeiras and CRB (all in Brazil); San Luis (Mexico); FC Lugano and St. Gallen (Switzerland); and Partizan Belgrade (Serbia).
“Now is the time to complement our young core with more experienced players in order to challenge for greater results,” RSL general manager Craig Waibel said in statement released by the club. “Everton is the type of player that we feel can assist in helping us mature beyond being a competitive team and into one that challenges for bigger and better things.”
In 246 matches across all competitions, Luiz has scored 10 goals (including seven in 155 league matches).
Luiz’s experience isn’t just of the physical variety: He’s also dealt with emotional hurdles, including instances of racism during his European playing days. Luiz’s name made headlines last year after cameras showed him coming off the field in tears following his club’s match against Serbian club Rad. Opposing fans launched racial abuse at him throughout the entire match. Luiz later issued a statement, which included his urge to “everyone to say ‘No’ to racism.’”
Luiz left Serbia for S.P.A.L., where he helped the Italian club avoid relegation in the 2017-18 season.
#RSL signs MF Everton Luiz on loan through the 2019 season
Welcome, Everton 👋🏼
— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) January 7, 2019
He pointed to RSL’s ceiling as a reason that drew him across the Atlantic to play in MLS. He also cited a lack of playing time for making the move.
“I am coming to a structured club that is full of potential to go farther,” Luiz said in the team release. “I’ve reached my dream of playing in one of the biggest leagues on the planet and share the pitch with many of the best players. I wasn’t playing as much as I wanted and I’m looking forward to new challenges and saw in Real Salt Lake a huge opportunity to keep growing in my career.”
RSL will start its 2019 season on the road against the Houston Dynamo. Salt Lake finished last season sixth in the Western Conference, squeaking into the playoffs. They eventually took down LAFC in the Knockout Round, then fell to Sporting Kansas City in the Western Conference Semifinals.