Real Salt Lake

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Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake 2010.svg
Full nameReal Salt Lake
  • Claret and Cobalt
  • Royals
  • La Realeza
StadiumRio Tinto Stadium
Sandy, Utah
Ground Capacity20,213[1]
OwnerDell Loy Hansen
Head CoachJeff Cassar
LeagueMajor League Soccer
2014Western Conference: 3rd
Overall: 4th
Playoffs: Western Conference Semifinals
WebsiteClub home page
Current season
Jump to: navigation, search
Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake 2010.svg
Full nameReal Salt Lake
  • Claret and Cobalt
  • Royals
  • La Realeza
StadiumRio Tinto Stadium
Sandy, Utah
Ground Capacity20,213[1]
OwnerDell Loy Hansen
Head CoachJeff Cassar
LeagueMajor League Soccer
2014Western Conference: 3rd
Overall: 4th
Playoffs: Western Conference Semifinals
WebsiteClub home page
Current season

Real Salt Lake (RSL) is an American professional soccer club based in Sandy, Utah, a suburb of Salt Lake City. The team competes as a member of the Western Conference in Major League Soccer (MLS). They play their home games at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real Salt Lake won the 2009 MLS Cup and were runners-up of the 2013 MLS Cup, the 2010 MLS Supporters Shield, the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League, and the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The team's head coach is former MLS goalkeeper Jeff Cassar.


Robbie Russell (in red) playing for Real Salt Lake.
For more details on this topic, see History of Real Salt Lake.

Real Salt Lake became the twelfth MLS franchise when Major League Soccer awarded an expansion franchise on July 14, 2004, to SCP Worldwide, headed by Dave Checketts. Jason Kreis became the first player in RSL history, coming in a trade from the Dallas Burn. RSL began play on April 2, 2005, in a match against the New York Metrostars. Jason Kreis also scored the club's first goal.

RSL's first few years in MLS were marked by heavy losses and player turnover. Led by coach John Ellinger, the first season included a 10-match losing streak en route to a 5–22–5 record. RSL added veterans Clint Mathis, Eddie Pope and Jeff Cunningham to these early teams.

In 2007, Jason Kreis was hired midseason as RSL's new manager, and retired as an active player. Working with new General Manager Garth Lagerwey, RSL added several key players including Kyle Beckerman, Robbie Findley, Javier Morales, Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave. RSL advanced to the playoffs for the first time in 2008.[2]

Real Salt Lake won the 2009 MLS Cup by defeating the Los Angeles Galaxy in the November 22 final at Qwest Field. RSL played the L.A. Galaxy to a 1–1 tie through overtime and won the MLS Cup (5–4 on penalties) to complete the upset. Goalkeeper Nick Rimando was named Man of the Match.[3] The victory in the 2009 MLS Cup qualified RSL for the 2010–11 CONCACAF Champions League.

In 2010, Real Salt Lake finished second in the race for the Supporters Shield, but exited to FC Dallas in the first round of the playoffs. Goalkeeper Nick Rimando led the league with 14 shutouts, and Jámison Olave was named MLS Defender of the Year.

In 2011, Real Salt Lake became the first MLS team to ever reach the CONCACAF Champions League Finals, losing to Mexican club Monterrey 3–2 on aggregate.

In 2013, Real Salt Lake and Rio Tinto Stadium became under the full ownership of Dell Loy Hansen, a Salt Lake City real estate investor and formerly the club's minority owner. Hansen acquired full ownership from former owner and club creator Dave Checketts.[4] The club traded key players Jonny Steele, Jámison Olave, Fabián Espíndola and Will Johnson.[5] Real Salt Lake played in the 2013 MLS Cup, losing to Sporting Kansas City in the final on a dramatic series of penalty kicks.

Colors and badge[edit]

The team's official colors are claret red, cobalt blue, and Real gold.[6]

Kit evolution[edit]

Home, away, and third kits.[7]

2014 [8][9]


Rio Tinto Stadium, RSL's home stadium since 2008

In 2005 a soccer-specific stadium for the team was approved for Sandy, a suburb of Salt Lake City. However, funding for the stadium was still hard to come by. A vote in early 2006 struck down a funding proposal for the stadium. However, Tom Dolan, the mayor of Sandy, said that he would not give up on his fight to approve the proposal in Sandy. The funding plan was revised, but was struck down later in 2006 over disagreements in the appropriation of millions of hotel-tax dollars for a financially unproven sports franchise. The proposal for Sandy was declared "dead" by Checketts at that point, putting the team's future in doubt. Dave Checketts said that he wanted the team to remain in Utah, but would sell it if a proposal was not put forward by August 12, 2006.

Parties from several cities, including Rochester, New York[10] and St Louis, Missouri, expressed interest in purchasing the franchise and moving it. Other stadium sites in the area were also proposed, including the Utah State Fairgrounds in Salt Lake, and the tiny town of Vineyard, just west of Provo. Finally, on the very day Checketts had set as a deadline to have a stadium plan in place or decide to sell the team, and after months of up and down discussions with local municipalities, county, and state officials and a change in the funding structure, a tacit agreement between Checketts, Sandy City, and Salt Lake County was put in place, and Real Salt Lake announced that they would move forward with the construction of Real Salt Lake Stadium,[11] which would ultimately be named Rio Tinto Stadium. The groundbreaking, coinciding with the Xango Cup, Real's match against international power Real Madrid, took place that afternoon featuring elected leaders, team officials, as well as the entire rosters of both Real Salt Lake and Real Madrid. On August 15, the deal was officially approved by the Salt Lake County Council.[12]

The stadium plan encountered difficulties however after the Debt Review Committee of Salt Lake County voted against the stadium proposal 4–0 on January 26, 2007, citing what they saw as Real Salt Lake's financial inviability as the reasoning behind the lack of support. County mayor Corroon concurred with the DRC and the stadium plan was effectively killed on January 29, 2007. In response Real Salt Lake's owner announced the team would be sold and likely move out of the Salt Lake area after the 2007 season.[13]

The Sandy Stadium proposal was not completely dead, however: a new stadium proposal was made on February 2, that would divert 15 percent, roughly $2 million a year, of the county's hotel taxes to the stadium project beginning in July until 2017.[14] Such a deal would have to have been made by February 9, or the deal would have been completely off.[15] The bill was passed by the State Senate.[16]

After Governor Huntsman made a move that would allow the team to remain in Salt Lake County: the Utah House approved House bill 1SHB38, by a 48–24 margin, effectively approving $35 million towards the development of Real Salt Lake's new home. The governor was expected to sign the bill,[17] and ultimately did so.

Sandy City, along with the state of Utah and representatives of the team, finally came to an agreement regarding the placement of the Real stadium. The deal was shot down about a week prior to the agreement by the Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon saying it was too risky. However, Utah's governor, Jon Huntsman, Jr. said that soccer was here to stay. The $110 million stadium was built in Sandy, a suburb of Salt Lake City. Rossetti's California office was the architecture firm responsible for the design of the new stadium. The stadium's opening date was set for October 9, 2008, when Real Salt Lake hosted the New York Red Bulls.[18]

Club culture[edit]


The title "Real" (Spanish pronunciation: [reˈal]) is a Spanish word which means "royal" in English. In Spain the term is used only by clubs who have received royal patronage from a reigning Spanish king, Spanish clubs with the title include Real Madrid, Real Betis and Real Sociedad. Dave Checketts chose the name Real Salt Lake with the intention of piggybacking on the worldwide fame of Real Madrid to ensuring the team would clearly be associated with association football by name alone.[19]

The decision to name the team Real Salt Lake was initially met with a negative reaction[20] and received derision from fans due to its flagrant cultural appropriation.[21] Many local supporters thought the name sounded contrived and should instead reflect the Salt Lake area.[22] Other team names considered were Salt Lake City Highlanders, Salt Lake Soccer Club, Alliance Soccer Club and Union SLC.[23]

Association with Real Madrid[edit]

As of September of the 2006 season, Real Salt Lake and Real Madrid have signed a 10-year co-operative agreement. Among the provisions of the deal are a biennial friendly match between the two teams to take place in Salt Lake City, annual February training for RSL at the Real Madrid practice facility in Spain and the creation of a $25 million youth academy in Salt Lake City that will train up to 200 players from ages 12 to 18.[24][25] The academy, a co-operative project for which Real Madrid will pay half the cost, will include academic facilities and dormitory housing.[citation needed]

As of 2011 development of the academy complex had stalled and the status of any ongoing partnership with Real Madrid was uncertain.[26] Despite the reported agreement for 5 biennial friendlies between the two sides only one such match has ever been played; a 2-0 win for Real Madrid in 2006.[27]


RSL's main rivals are the Colorado Rapids, which it competes with for the annual Rocky Mountain Cup. With Major League Soccer's expansion in 2005, Real Salt Lake became the second team in the Rocky Mountain region and the Colorado Rapids' closest neighbor. Colorado won the Rocky Mountain Cup in its inaugural year, 9 points to 3, and successfully defended the Cup in 2006 by a margin of 7 points to 4. Real Salt Lake won the Rocky Mountain Cup in the 2007 Season, 7 points to 4 points, and defended the cup successfully in 2008–2012.

The team also maintains a smaller rivalry with the Los Angeles Galaxy, whom they defeated in the 2009 MLS Cup final and were runner-up to for the 2010 MLS Supporters Shield, as well as a budding rivalry with Sporting Kansas City, whom they were defeated by in the 2013 MLS Cup.

Supporters groups[edit]

Real Salt Lake has eight official supporters groups: The Loyalists, Rogue Cavaliers Brigade (RCB), Salt City United (SCU), Section 26, La Barra Real, Union de Real, The Royal Pride (TRP),[28] and The Royal Army. Except for Section 26 and The Royal Army (which is dispersed throughout the stadium), all supporters groups sit in the south stands.


Leo the Lion on his throne at a "Meet the Players" event, Aug 2010

Leo the Lion is the official mascot of Real Salt Lake.


During the initial tenancy at Rio Tinto Stadium, the post-victory song was the Bob Marley anthem, "Iron Lion Zion". It was decided after an internal vote, because it fit the team's criteria for a celebration song.[citation needed]

In 2011, Branden Steineckert of the group Rancid, an avid RSL supporter, composed the song "Believe" for fans to sing as the new RSL song.[29] It is now played throughout the stadium prior to and during the kickoff and after every RSL goal.[citation needed]

Revenue and profitability[edit]

As Real Salt Lake is a small-market team, one of the team's biggest challenges is bringing in enough revenue to remain competitive.[30] Opening Rio Tinto Stadium in October 2008 provided a significant revenue boost to the team. Real Salt Lake went from 4,000 season-ticket holders before October 2008, to 8,750 in 2012, and passed 10,000 in 2013.[30]


PeriodKit manufacturerShirt sponsor

RSL has a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with LifeVantage.[31][32] It previously had a multi-million dollar deal with XanGo a nutritional supplements company based in Utah, to carry the XanGo logo on the front of RSL jerseys from the 2007 season until 2014.[33] Additional sponsors include JetBlue Airways[34] and Maverik, Inc.[35]


Radio broadcasts are on KALL AM 700 (English) and KTUB AM 1600 (Spanish). KTVX and KUCW are set to handle local television broadcasts for the 2012 season. With 10 games being broadcast on KTVX and 20 games on KUCW for the 2012 season. Bill Riley enters his eighth year as an RSL play-by-play personality on radio and TV, while 10-year MLS veteran and “RSL Original” Brian Dunseth assumes color analyst duties on RSL broadcasts for a seventh consecutive season.[36]

Players and staff[edit]

For details on former players, see All-time Real Salt Lake roster.

Current roster[edit]

As of December 10, 2014.[37]

1GoalkeeperFernández , LaloLalo Fernández     Mexico
2DefenderBeltran, TonyTony Beltran     United States
5MidfielderBeckerman, KyleKyle Beckerman (Captain)    United States
7MidfielderAllen, JordanJordan Allen (HGP)    United States
8ForwardPlata , JoaoJoao Plata     Ecuador
11MidfielderMorales, JavierJavier Morales (DP)    Argentina
12MidfielderGrossman , ColeCole Grossman     United States
13ForwardGarcía, OlmesOlmes García     Colombia
14DefenderGlad, JustenJusten Glad (HGP)    United States
15ForwardSaborío, ÁlvaroÁlvaro Saborío (DP)    Costa Rica
16DefenderSalcedo, CarlosCarlos Salcedo (HGP)    Mexico
18GoalkeeperRimando, NickNick Rimando     United States
19MidfielderMulholland, LukeLuke Mulholland     England
21MidfielderGil, LuisLuis Gil (GA)    United States
23ForwardJaime , SebastiánSebastián Jaime (DP)    Argentina
24GoalkeeperAttinella, JeffJeff Attinella     United States
27MidfielderStertzer, JohnJohn Stertzer     United States
28DefenderSchuler, ChrisChris Schuler     United States
49ForwardSandoval, DevonDevon Sandoval     United States
DefenderOlave, JámisonJámison Olave     Colombia
MidfielderSaucedo, SebastianSebastian Saucedo (HGP)    United States

Landmark appearances by players[edit]

Retired numbers[edit]

Team captains[edit]

Head coaches[edit]

As of October 23, 2014
All Time Real Salt Lake Coaching Stats
CoachNationStartEndGamesWinlossTieWin %
John EllingerUnited States2005 Jan2007 May 37116391633.8%
Jason KreisUnited States2007 May 32013 December 10261112856455.2%
Jeff CassarUnited States2013 December 18Present351591158.6%
Rocky Mountain Cup 2011


Real Monarchs[edit]

Main Article: Real Monarchs

On September 10, 2014, Real Salt Lake revealed plans for their own USL pro team, which they plan to launch and begin play in the 2015 USL Pro season. The USL Pro club was officially revealed on November 3, 2014, as Real Monarchs Salt Lake City (SLC). The creation of Real Monarchs is to bridge a gap between the academies to the first level team.



YearRegular seasonMLS Cup PlayoffsU.S. Open CupCONCACAF
Champions' League
20055th, West (5–22–5)Did not qualifyThird roundDid not qualify
20066th, West (10-13-9)Did not qualifyFourth roundDid not qualify
20076th, West (6-15-9)Did not qualifyDid not qualifyDid not qualify
20083rd, West (10-10-10)Won Conference Semifinals {C.D. Chivas USA 3-2 (on aggregate goals)}
Lost Conference Finals {New York Red Bulls 0-1}
Did not qualifyDid not qualify
20095th, West (11-12-7)Won Conference Semifinals {Columbus Crew 4-2 (on aggregate goals)}
Won Conference Finals {Chicago Fire 0-0 (5-4 on penalty kicks)}
Won MLS Cup {LA Galaxy 1-1 (5-4 on penalty kicks)}
Did not qualifyDid not qualify
20102nd, West (15-4-11)Lost Conference Semifinals {FC Dallas 2-3 (on aggregate goals)}Did not qualifyRunner-up (2010–11)
20113rd, West (15-11-8)Won Conference Semifinals {Seattle Sounders FC 3-2 (on aggregate goals)}
Lost Conference Finals {LA Galaxy 1-3}
Quarter-FinalsDid not qualify (2011–12)
20122nd, West (17-11-6)Lost Conference Semifinals {Seattle Sounders FC 0-1 (on aggregate goals)}Third roundGroup stage (2012–13)
20132nd, West (16-10-8)Won Conference Semifinals {LA Galaxy 2-1 (on aggregate goals)}
Won Conference Finals {Portland Timbers 5-2 (on aggregate goals)}
Lost MLS Cup {Sporting Kansas City 1-1 (6-7 on penalty kicks)}
Runner UpDid not qualify (2013–14)
20143rd, West (15-8-11)Lost Conference Semifinals {LA Galaxy 0-5 (on aggregate goals)}Fourth roundDid not qualify (2014–15)

Year-by-year stats[edit]

As of October 27, 2014
YearLeague recordTop scorer
20053252253065-3520Jason Kreis9011/12
200632101394549-439Jeff Cunningham1610/12
20073061593145-1427Chris Brown5012/13
2008301010104039+140Yura Movsisyan707/14
200930111274335+840Robbie Findley128/15
201030154114520+2556Álvaro Saborío122/16
201134151184436+853Álvaro Saborío113/18
201234171164635+1157Álvaro Saborío175/19
201334161085741+1656Álvaro Saborío124/19
201434158115439+1556Joao Plata134/19
Total32011911684435404+31444Álvaro Saborío60

All-time regular season records[edit]

Single season records[edit]

Indicates active streak
Player still with RSL

Other team records and honors[edit]

Hat tricks[edit]

September 29, 2012 vs Chivas USA (Win 4-0), MLS;
July 27, 2013 vs. New York Red Bulls (Loss 3-4), MLS

International tournaments[edit]

Group Stage v. Mexico Cruz Azul -- 3–1, 4–5
Group Stage v. Canada Toronto FC -- 4–1, 1–1
Group Stage v. Panama Árabe Unido -- 2–1, 3–2
Quarterfinals v. United States Columbus Crew -- 0–0, 4–1
Semifinals v. Costa Rica Deportivo Saprissa -- 2–0, 1–2
Finals v. Mexico Monterrey -- 2–2, 0–1
Group Stage v. Panama Tauro F.C. 2-0, 1-0
Group Stage v. Costa Rica C.S. Herediano 0-0, 0-1

MLS records[edit]

Player awards[edit]

Awards given by MLS to Real Salt Lake players.


Average season attendance[edit]

SeasonReg. seasonMLS playoffs

DNQ = Did Not Qualify


  1. ^ a b c d e f Record was set in the 2010 season.


  1. ^ Real Salt Lake 2012 Media Guide, p. 3, retrieved June 20, 2012 
  2. ^ "Winless RSL has coaching shake up". ESPN. September 1, 2011. Retrieved September 1, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Salt Lake beat L.A. Galaxy to MLS title". ESPN. November 23, 2009. Retrieved November 23, 2009. 
  4. ^ Nicholas Rosano (January 24, 2013). "Dell Loy Hansen acquires full ownership of Real Salt Lake". Retrieved April 14, 2013. 
  5. ^ Michael Black (February 27, 2013). "2013 Real Salt Lake Preview: Revamp – not overhaul – should keep RSL in the hunt". Retrieved April 14, 2013. 
  6. ^ Real Salt Lake colors[dead link]
  7. ^ "Real Salt Lake jerseys through the years « claretpapers". Retrieved September 2, 2012. 
  8. ^ "RSL kit unveil: Gold bar features crown, reaction mixed". RSL Soapbox. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Let's Review the New MLS Jerseys--Part I". Black And Red United. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  10. ^ Rhinos confirm talk with MLS club in Utah[dead link]
  11. ^ Real Salt Lake joined by Real Madrid Saturday at 12:00 noon to break ground on Sandy stadium site[dead link]
  12. ^ KUTV news – Soccer stadium finally a ReALity[dead link]
  13. ^ "KSL Newsradio: Soccer stadium deal is dead". January 29, 2007. Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  14. ^ Jensen, Derek P. (February 2, 2007). "Stadium plan: It's ba-a-ack!". Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Stadium deal due by Friday — or else". February 3, 2007. Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  16. ^ Walsh, Rebecca (February 6, 2007). "Senate paves way for a Sandy stadium". Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  17. ^ Utah House approves stadium funds[dead link]
  18. ^ "RSL confirms Oct. 9 stadium opening". The Salt Lake Tribune. August 5, 2008. Retrieved August 5, 2008. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Utah Local News - Salt Lake City News, Sports, Archive - The Salt Lake Tribune". Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  21. ^ "The Absurdity of MLS Nomenclature". Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  22. ^ Name * (January 24, 2013). "A New Day for Real Salt Lake as Dave Checketts moves on". RSL Perspective. Retrieved June 8, 2014. 
  23. ^ "USSoccerPlayers: Sounders Already Scoring". April 10, 2008. Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  24. ^ Salt Lake Tribune article announcing the RSL-RM deal
  25. ^ "Real Madrid will be back in '08". September 2, 2006. Retrieved October 11, 2011. [dead link]
  26. ^ Jared Page (February 21, 2011). "What's the Real deal with S.L. soccer complex?". Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  27. ^ " - Real Madrid bests Real Salt Lake". Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  28. ^ "RSL Royal Army LTD Edition Scarf". Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  29. ^ Real Salt Lake Chants, Retrieved: February 11, 2014
  30. ^ a b Sports Business Journal, MLS club presidents on the season ahead, March 4, 2013,
  31. ^ Harvey, Tom (November 22, 2013). "RSL to switch jersey sponsor". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Real Salt Lake unveils new long-term jersey-front partnership with LifeVantage". October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  33. ^ PRWeb, XanGo Inks Historic Deal with Real Salt Lake, November 21, 2006,
  34. ^ James Edward (March 19, 2009). "Real Salt Lake signs JetBlue as airline partner". Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  35. ^ "Royal Partners". Real Salt Lake. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  36. ^ [1], RSL 2012 TV Schedule.
  37. ^ "Players". Real Salt Lake. February 23, 2012. Retrieved December 3, 2012. 
  38. ^ a b c d Player Registry, accessed: June 10, 2014
  39. ^ Randy Davis (December 19, 2010). "The numbers behind RSL's record-setting season". Real Salt Lake. Retrieved December 3, 2011. 

External links[edit]