Kemar Lawrence distinguished himself in so many difference ways for the Red Bulls. (Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports)
HARRISON, N.J. – Red Bulls have transferred Jamaica international defender Kemar Lawrence to R.S.C. Anderlecht, the Major League Soccer club announced on Friday.
Lawrence had spent the last five seasons with the Red Bulls.
The transfer fee was reported to be $1.5 million — 1.1 million to the Red Bulls and $400,000 to MLS.
Lawrence, who earned $383,749 in guaranteed salary in 2019, according to the MLS Players Association, wanted a raise and the Red Bulls weren’t about to accede to his demands.
“Kemar has had ambitions to play in Europe and we received an offer that makes this mutually beneficial for the club,” Red Bulls sporting director Denis Hamlett said in a statement. “We wish Kemar the best for this next step in his career.”
The 27-year-old Lawrence joined the Red Bulls from Harbour View FC after a trial in 2015. The left back started in 113 of the 118 appearances he made with five goals and 10 assists in 10,044 minutes. Across all competitions, he accrued 137 starts in 146 matches played with five goals and 12 assists in 12,257 minutes.
Lawrence’s transfer meant the Red Bulls continued to dismantle their defense, which was the league’s best in 2018. Goalkeeper Luis Robles was released and signed as a free agent by expansion team Inter Miami while Panama international right back Michael Amir Murillo was sold to Anderlecht in December.
During his Red Bulls tenure, Lawrence was named an MLS Best XI player, an MLS all-star and a regular starter for the Jamaican national team. In 2018, he earned a spot among MLS’ Best XI as he appeared in a career-high 28 league games, recording two goals and an assist. Lawrence helped anchor a Red Bulls backline that allowed a league-low 33 goals in 34 games en route to an MLS record 71 points and 22 wins and the Supporters’ Shield that season.