Real Salt Lake

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Real Salt Lake History

Real Salt Lake was established by a Dave Checketts-led investment group (SCP Worldwide) being awarded an expansion franchise for Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2004. The club began to play in 2005, playing home games at nearby Rice Eccles Stadium which is part of the University of Utah.

Although the club was well received (over 25,000 fans attended its inaugural home game), the on-field product struggled in its early years. The clubs fortunes didn’t change until the firing of the inaugural manager, John Ellinger. After Ellinger’s departure, the reigns were given to then-player Jason Kreis, who immediately retired from playing. Although the club struggled through the 2007 season, vast improvements were coming.

After Jason Kreis was named manager he added players who would end up in Real Salt Lake history. Those players included Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Jamison Olave, and Nat Borchers, who were all added to the squad. In October, Real Salt Lake moved to Rio Tinto Stadium. The team turned the “Riot” into a fortress, providing entirely different outcomes for the team at home. In January 2013, Dave Checketts sold his stake to now sole-owner Dell Loy Hansen.

The team won their only hardware during the Jason Kreis era. Kreis would depart after the 2013 season to take the head coaching job at NYCFC. Long-time assistant, Jeff Cassar, was named as the next head coach. Cassar would serve for three full seasons and the club making two playoff appearances. Despite the postseason appearances, he was removed and caretaker manager, Daryl Shore, was appointed for two games.

Mike Petke was named the fifth head coach of the franchise in April 2017. Petke  became an instant hero amongst the Real Salt Lake faithful after the “Petke outburst.” This episode involved the Real Salt Lake manager lambasting the press with still shots illustrating poor calls made. Eventually, this behavior would lead to a “touchline ban” for Petke, but he’d immediately endeared himself to the fans. You can see his full comments below.

Coinciding with the start of the 2018 season, Dell Loy Hansen unveiled major additions. These included a $78 million academy and training facility in nearby Herriman, Utah. This facility would also serve as home to the Real Monarchs (a USL, “second-tier,” soccer affiliate). The Monarchs team provides a route for the already successful Real (Arizona) Academy.

Real Salt Lake Honors

CONCACAF Champions League

  • Runners up: 2011


  • Winners: 2009
  • Runner-up: 2013

Supporters’ Shield

  • Runner-up: 2010

Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup

  • Runner-up: 2013

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