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Because Portugal did not want him, Real Salt Lake's newest defender, Marlon Rojas, decided to settle for Salt Lake City.


Rojas, the team's recent 25-year-old acquisition and a regular on the Trinidad and Tobago national team, intended to join Real during the team's practice sessions in Monte Gordo, Portugal, last week. But as it turned out, his visa was good enough for about every other country in the world except Portugal.

"It has been on my mind," Rojas said. "The guys have an edge on me, training the past couple of weeks."

Rojas first arrived in Utah on Friday evening, and Saturday was at the team's three-on-three youth soccer event. His first impressions of Utah, mixed with the action at the University of Utah's indoor football practice facility, were positive.

"It's going to be great; the people here seem really interested in what we are going to do here," Rojas said.

While the rest of the team practices in Portugal, Rojas will bide his time in Utah looking for a house and otherwise getting settled. He also is resting a hamstring he pulled recently in a game against Jamaica. He is looking forward to when Real returns to the United States for its practice sessions in Redlands, Calif.

His training with Real may be short-lived, however. Chances are, he will be recalled   to Trinidad for national team training.