Kenny Deuchar is known as the "Goal-Scoring Doctor" in his native Scotland, but there is only one part of that nickname he is planning to live up to in Major League Soccer.
Deuchar, who joined Real Salt Lake in the preseason from Scottish Premier League club Gretna, has put his medical career on hold in order to focus on his new life in Utah.
While plying his trade in the SPL, the 27-year-old would treat patients one day per week. He is determined to rise through the ranks in medicine once he hangs up his boots.
"I have always wanted to be a doctor and that is the career I will follow for the next 30 years once I finish playing," Deuchar said. "But for now I want to concentrate on my soccer, and the chance to play in MLS for Real Salt Lake is what I am dedicated to right now."
REAL SALT LAKE
6-15-9 (27 points), sixth in Western Conference, 13th overall. Missed MLS playoffs.
KEY MAN: Kyle Beckerman. Beckerman was the shining light on a faltering team last season and will enjoy having more quality around him in 2008. A good athlete with the ability to dominate in midfield, he may hold the key to RSL's season.
NEWCOMER: Tony Beltran. Don't be fooled by the 20-year-old's baby-faced looks. He has the ability to be a productive midfielder in MLS. The third pick in the MLS draft, Beltran has impressed coach Jason Kreis so far.
OUTLOOK: RSL will be better than in 2007 – and let's face it, the club couldn't be much worse. Scottish striker Kenny Deuchar will be a useful addition and there is enough talent to at least compete for a place in the playoffs.
Gretna was one of the success stories of Scottish soccer over the past few years, rising rapidly from the bottom tier to the top flight as Deuchar smashed in record numbers of goals along the way. However, Gretna's refusal to allow him to accept offers from bigger clubs chasing his services led to conflict.
Eventually, Gretna's financial demise, believed to be caused by the illness of owner Brooks Mileson, meant he could accept Real Salt Lake's deal and begin a new chapter in his career.
"It is a fresh start for me and a very exciting one," Deuchar said. "I didn't know much about Salt Lake before I came out here, but there is a positive environment around the club and it is nice to be involved with.
"There is not much to choose between a lot of the teams in MLS, so when a club goes out and strengthens like this one has then it provides a chance to make some real progress."
RSL was dreadful last season, with only expansion club Toronto FC saving them from an overall last-place finish in MLS.
However, things are looking up significantly ahead of the new campaign, and expectations are that the team can move well clear of the bottom of the standings.
The club has been busy acquiring competent new talent, adding Matias Cordoba and Dema Kovalenko to the midfield and seriously boosting the defense despite Eddie Pope's retirement. Nat Borchers and Ian Joy have returned from Europe, Jamilson Olave arrived from Argentina and UCLA's Tony Beltran was snapped up via the draft.
- Real Salt Lake
- Kenny Deuchar