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Good Bye, Water Warrior, Good Bye

Nick Rimando was in the Giant buying wrapping paper when he got the call from his agent, who said he'd been traded to Real Salt Lake.

Not that it was any great shock. He'd asked for a trade, after all. There were all sorts of rumors. He thought Kansas City and New York were his most likely destinations, but Salt Lake was high on his wish list, since his sister-in-law and her husband and their two daughters live there, just a few blocks from RSL's stadium. But anyhow, he had gotten back from Ben Olsen's Jamaican wedding, where everything was beautiful and where he pledged not to drink another Red Stripe for two years or so, and now he was in the Giant buying wrapping paper on a lovely Monday morning when he got the call from his agent, who needed to know whether Nicky would object to going to Salt Lake.

"I was like, 'Whoa,'" Nicky said. "I was like, 'No man, we want to go."

So that was that. He stayed in the aisle of the Giant for about 30 minutes yesterday morning, making phone calls, talking to his wife and to DCU President Kevin Payne. By the afternoon it was all over the Internets. Nicky's contract with MLS expires at the end of the year, but he said he has "a good feeling" that he and his agent will work out a new deal with the league. He's already talked to his sister-in-law about where to look for houses in Salt Lake. And so, just weeks after shooting up into Bog superstardom, Nick will leave D.C.

I called Jeremy, aka Two Thirds, aka Dos Tres, one of the Water Warriors, to see if he had heard the news.

This never-before-seen photo shows water warrior Iceberg after his run-in with Nick Rimando in Georgetown. He was bleeding and his jeans were shredded. Later that night, he had a beer with Nicky. (By Dan Steinberg)

"Aw, man. That sucks. Wow," Dos Tres said. "That's pretty crazy. I have to call the other warriors. I'm just gonna be like, 'I was looking forward to stalking him again in the springtime.'"

Dos Tres, a very casual soccer fan, knew that Freddy was gone. He didn't realize Nicky was also part of the deal. Kind of weird the way Nicky became almost an afterthought in what one Utah columnist called the biggest trade in state history. We're talking, after all, about a goalie who won an MLS championship two years ago and is still only 27 years old, and now he's in the "oh yeah, D.C. also traded..." category because he happens to have been packaged with Freddy.

"I expected that," Nicky said with a laugh. "Freddy's a big name. People that know soccer know that it's not just me being thrown in [as] some candy."

Jacqui, his wife, has already talked to her boss about possibly being transferred to Utah so that she can remain in sales. They might keep their Northern Virginia house, the one the water warriors slept outside, and try to rent it out. Nicky said he doesn't exactly feel relief, but he's glad that he'll get a chance to compete for playing time again. He said he'd miss the fans and his teammates, and that after five years in this area he'll be saying goodbye to a ton of friends, but that he knows the business well enough that he never expected to end his career in D.C. And he said maybe a radio station in Utah will run a water wars promotion at some point. You never know.

We'll always have this.

"I know the business and I know it's hard to stay in one place and play your whole career, so I think this is a step up in my career. I want to play as long as I can, and if I'm not playing here I need to go somewhere else and keep developing," he said. "Another adventure, and I think it's time to move on."

Speaking as someone who followed him around for three consecutive days while five guys with squirt guns squatted in his bushes and interrogated his friends and followed his car and slept in front of his house, all of which prompted nothing but smiles and a few frantic, near-tragic moments in Georgetown, I can only say this: The Goose will be missed.

"There's not too many other professional athletes out there you could ask to do something like that," Dos Tres agreed. "Definitely sorry to see him go."

By Dan Steinberg  |  December 12, 2006; 4:23 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Best of luck to Nicky. I think we haven't heard the last of him being in water wars. He does appear to have an awful lot of free time in the off-season. Roche needs to make it happen.

Posted by: Marc | December 12, 2006 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Best of luck to Nicky. I'm sad to see him go, but it's the right move for him, career-wise. Plus, DC really couldn't afford to pay him the starter-level salary he deserves just to have him rot on the bench...I wish we could bring him back for penalty shoot-outs, though!

Posted by: EdTheRed | December 12, 2006 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Maximum Respect to Nick. He has served United with much skill and class.

He will be missed.

I look forward to seeing him when RSL comes to RFK.

the cheat

Posted by: the cheat | December 12, 2006 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Damn. It feels like someone kicked a puppy or something :(

As far as i'm concerned, Freddy is "the other guy" in this trade ;) Nicky will be missed.


Posted by: gnat | December 12, 2006 5:29 PM | Report abuse

And why can't Nick be part of Water Wars II anyway? Are the 'warriors' not up to the challenge of finding Nick in SLC?

Best of luck to Nick. It's kind of sad that he's relegated to a trivia question in this trade, he deserves much better.

When they come next year, he'll get a hearty welcome (as long as he doesn't pull a Tino).

Posted by: Kim | December 12, 2006 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Nick will be missed.

I can picture him skiing down the slopes in a water gun fight! :-)

Posted by: Jose L. Couso | December 12, 2006 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Good luck to Nick and his lovely bride. Nick was great friend to the Barra during his time here. Whenever I attended training or an event he always gave the Barra a shout out and would always come and give us all respect after matches even when not playing. One of the hard things about being a fan is seeing the men you like and respect having to move on to ply their trade. I, and I'm sure the rest of the Barra, will definitely cheer him when he returns to RFK--at the start of the match, though as he well knows it will be "business as usual".

Nick was great player for United and I was very glad to get to know him during his time here.

Posted by: BigRob | December 12, 2006 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Nick is a great guy, and his family rocks too.

I'll never forget going to the post game party after MLS Cup 2004. We were lucky enough to get tickets from the team - they gave a bunch to the fans who travelled out there to see the game.

I saw this older guy who I didn't recognize, wearing DC United gear. I asked him if he was from DC, and he said "no, I live here in California. I'm Nick Rimando's dad. I am sooooo proud of my son."

That was fantastic.

I'm really going to miss Nick and the attitude he brought to the team. I knew he was going to be traded, given the fact that there was no way Troy Perkins was not going to be our starting keeper next season. But I'm still sorry to see Nick go, and wish him the best of luck.

Posted by: Mike | December 12, 2006 6:52 PM | Report abuse

We the water warriors pledge to have equal fun with Ben Olsen in the spring

Posted by: dos/tres | December 12, 2006 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Nick & Jacqui,

BRYC Team Phoenix will miss you both. Thank you for coming out to our game against Loudon Freedom. Jacqui, the medical offices in Northern Virginia will not be the same without you. Hope to see you both before you leave. I still owe you both for dinner.

Steve M. Le

Posted by: Steve Le - BRYC Team Phoenix U11G | December 13, 2006 12:13 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad he's not going to Kansas City or NJ. At least he's going to a team with a full cast of former United players.

Posted by: sitruc | December 13, 2006 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Nicky is total class. I'll miss him.

Posted by: DB | December 13, 2006 1:00 PM | Report abuse

My wife and I will miss you. Good luck fitting into the magic underpants they'll try to sell out there ;)

Thanks for being a fun player to watch. Your celebration after stopping Dempsey will always be a Top 5 clip of DC history.

Posted by: Bryan76 | December 13, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Note to Skylar:

Just because Nick's gone doesn't mean we don't still appreciate you here. Feel free to chirp in.

Posted by: Kim | December 13, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I just wanted to add by two bits to the farewell for Nick. Like BigRob said, "One of the hard things about being a fan is seeing the men you like and respect having to move on to ply their trade."

You've been pure class, and I don't think that will change one whit it Utah. Best of luck in your career, Nick.


Posted by: Stevan | December 14, 2006 8:08 AM | Report abuse

I was in Belize when I got the text message that Nick was leaving. Very sad to hear, but that doesn't mean I won't rock a Rimando jersey in homage to my darling Nicky.
Best of Luck in Salt Lake, and don't worry, they don't have Red Stripe there, and all the beers are 3.5%, so you'll have to REALLy work hard to get a buzz drinking those.
Hey, how much you want rent for your house?


Posted by: Sway the Irishman | December 18, 2006 1:15 PM | Report abuse

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