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Feb. 26, 2007

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake has signed Ohio State’s 2006 captain Dustin Kirby to a developmental contract, making Kirby the third former Buckeye who has signed a professional contract in the last two years. Drafted by Salt Lake Jan. 18, Kirby ended 10 days at preseason camp in Orlando last Thursday and departed Monday with the team for two weeks of training Madrid, Spain.

Last month, Kirby (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) became the seventh Buckeye drafted under head coach John Bluem since 2003 and joins former OSU defender Kyle Veris (L.A. Galaxy) and goalkeeper Ray Burse (F.C. Dallas) currently in the professional ranks.

“We are very excited for Dusty and are very proud of him,” Bluem said. “He was a tremendous player for us, a great leader and an exceptional person. We wish him the very best in all endeavors.”

A two-time All-Big Ten central defender, Kirby joins former OSU assistant coach Brian Johnson in Salt Lake for the third-year MLS club. Johnson, now an assistant for Salt Lake under head coach John Ellinger, played for Bluem at Fresno State from 1992-95.

Kirby and Real Salt Lake begin their season April 7 against Burse and F.C. Dallas. Salt Lake plays once at Columbus this season, with that match scheduled for July 7.

A four-year starter for Ohio State, Kirby did not come off the field once last season and was named the team’s co-most valuable player. He was twice named to the College Soccer News national team of the week and was the MVP of OSU’s Wolstein Classic to open the season. An actuarial science major and three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, he missed only one start in his career for the Buckeyes.

Of Ohio State’s seven draft picks, five signed contracts, including Burse, Veris, Jake Traeger (Columbus, 2003), Andy Rosenband (Dallas, 2003) and now Kirby.

### GO BUCKS! ###