Real Salt Lake’s Major Signing: Colombian Midfielder Nelson Palacio Joins the Team
Real Salt Lake has successfully utilized Major League Soccer’s U-22 Mechanism to secure the services of 22-year-old midfielder Nelson Palacio. The talented player joins the team via a permanent transfer from renowned Colombian club Atlético Nacional. Once Palacio obtains the necessary work visa and International Transfer Certificate, and with the opening of the secondary transfer window on July 5, he will officially become part of Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni’s 2023 RSL roster. The signing is seen as a significant addition to the team’s midfield, with Palacio’s athleticism, composure, and ball-playing ability expected to complement the existing squad. As General Manager Elliot Fall explains, Palacio’s acquisition aligns with the club’s strategy of blending short-term needs with long-term quality. Having experienced success with his childhood club, Palacio is eager to contribute to Real Salt Lake’s pursuit of silverware in the present and future seasons.
Palacio’s arrival marks the third U-22 addition to Real Salt Lake’s 2023 roster, joining Colombian winger Andrés Gómez and Paraguayan midfielder Braian Ojeda. Introduced in its third year, Major League Soccer’s U-22 Initiative enables clubs to incorporate players aged 22 and younger into their rosters, often with advantageous contracts that come with reduced budget charges. The inclusion of U-22 players mitigates the risks associated with acquiring or retaining players who are still approaching their prime. Real Salt Lake’s current U-22 Initiative players have already made valuable contributions to the team this year, collectively providing seven assists and scoring one goal in 36 games.
Strengthening the Squad: Atlético Nacional’s Nelson Palacio Boosts Real Salt Lake’s Midfield
Palacio’s journey to Real Salt Lake stems from his early days in Atlético Nacional’s renowned youth academy. He signed his first professional contract with the club at the age of 18, ahead of the 2020 season. During his initial year, Palacio embarked on a loan spell at Valledupar FC in Colombia’s second division, where he showcased his skills in 34 out of 44 matches. Since returning from the loan, Palacio has become a vital presence for Atlético Nacional, playing a critical role as a ground-covering midfielder. In over two years, he has amassed an impressive record of three goals and one assist in 85 matches across various competitions. His performances in the Copa Libertadores, South America’s prestigious tournament, have further solidified his reputation. Palacio’s achievements with Atlético Nacional earned him a call-up to the Colombian National Team, making his debut as a substitute in a 2-2 draw against South Korea.
The signing of Nelson Palacio represents an exciting development for Real Salt Lake, as the club looks to capitalize on his talents and continue building a competitive team.