Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake
are based in Sandy (officially Sandy City), Utah, a suburb in Salt Lake County. The small suburb is home to a few attractions like the South Towne mall & the Jordan Commons entertainment & dining center. But dominating other attractions is the Rio Tinto Stadium, the soccer-specific stadium sitting in the heart of Sandy. The move for the stadium had gained prominence since 2005, when a proposal was struck down. Following repeated failures in negotiations, owner Dave Checketts (head of ownership group SCP Worldwide which had received Real Salt Lake
as MLS’s 12th
franchise as part of its expansion in July 2004) gave a deadline for a feasible funding plan, otherwise he threatened to relocate. On deadline day, the plan was finally formalized, & a groundbreaking ceremony took place with the top brass of the club & its namesake, world football giants Real Madrid, in attendance. Real Salt Lake
moved from the Rice-Eccles Stadium to the Rio Tinto Stadium in October 2008 with an exhibition game against Real Madrid. The 130 by 90 yards grass stadium has seen fervent local support from its capacity crowds often numbering up to 20,000. On big occasions, the Rio Tinto Stadium is dazzling thanks to the boisterous sea of Claret & Cobalt. The Real Salt Lake
administration also signed a 10-year agreement with Real Madrid for a $25 million youth academy in Salt Lake City that will train 200 players from 12 to 18. The main rivalry of the club is with the Colorado Rapids, with whom they vie for the Rocky Mountain Cup.
SCP Worldwide are the owners, with Dave Checketts & Dell Loy Hansen being the main prominent men. Steve Pastorino is the general manager, while former player Jason Kreis is the head coach. Kreis has a long bond with the franchise since its 2005 inception, having played as a striker in 58 matches for it till 2007 before going into retirement to take up coaching of the side. He is also he third-highest scorer in MLS history, & his coaching credentials have been enhanced by the 2009 victory. Real Salt Lake
has a constant stream of young players coming through its strong youth system, which seems to be coming forward in leaps & bounds through the Real Madrid partnership. The youth academy is also ushering in a more roots-dependent trend in American soccer. Famous players for the franchise include American international footballers Kreis, Eddie Pope, Freddy Adu, & Clint Mathis, with international stars like Yura Movsisyan also appearing on the list.
With John Ellinger at the helm, Real Salt Lake
had a dispiriting first season in 2005, finishing with a 5-22-5 record. In 2006, boosted by striker Jeff Cunningham’s exploits, Real Salt Lake
recorded their first away victory, but couldn’t break the shackles till 2008, when they made their first playoffs. They lost in the Western Conference Finals, but came back stronger next year, romping to a MLS Cup by defeating LA Galaxy on penalties. A barnstorming run in the Champions League followed, where they demolished established opponents before going down at home in the final to Mexican club Monterrey.
This struggle for dominance by the established powers has really prompted a massive sale of cheap Real Salt Lake tickets
. The club has established itself in a short space of time, & fans with Real Salt Lake tickets
will be hoping the franchise salvages something from what seems to be a promising season.