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: TBD
Overall: TBD
Playoffs: TBD
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: TBD
Overall: TBD
Playoffs: TBD
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 in Major League Soccer (MLS). RSL was one of two expansion teams awarded in 2004 that began play in MLS in 2005. They currently 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) scored RSL's winning penalty kick in the 2009 MLS Cup Final
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 Checkets, 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 derived from the Spanish language where it is traditionally used by certain Spanish football clubs, the best known being Real Madrid of La Liga. Meaning "royal" in English, it is traditionally taken by teams that are given the title by the King of Spain whether through favoritism or otherwise. In 2006, Real Salt Lake established a relationship with Real Madrid, reinforcing the bond between the club and its Spanish inspiration. Though Real Salt Lake was not originally affiliated with Real Madrid, in 2006 the two clubs signed an agreement to play friendly matches every two years, and to co-sponsor a soccer academy and training facility in Utah.[19] Dave Checketts and SCP Worldwide partners Dean Howes, Kenneth Munoz, Michael McCarthy, and Chris Bevilacqua chose Real Salt Lake for the team's name because they desired to associate the team with a successful soccer club, Real Madrid,[citation needed] as well as to develop a brand that was clearly associated with association football.

The choice of Real Salt Lake was initially met with some derision in the fan community, as many fans thought the name sounded contrived and should instead reflect the Salt Lake area.[20] Other team names considered were Salt Lake City Highlanders, Salt Lake Soccer Club, Alliance Soccer Club and Union SLC.[21] However, in recent years, criticism from local fans and the media has waned, and the club has instituted a formal relationship with Real Madrid.[22]

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, perhaps most importantly, the creation of a $25 million elite youth academy in Salt Lake City that will train up to 200 players from ages 12 to 18.[23] The academy, a co-operative project for which Real Madrid will pay half the cost, will include academic facilities and dormitory housing, arguably becoming the first true soccer youth system in MLS.[citation needed] In this sense, it is part of a growing league-wide trend toward the emphasis of youth development, a trend which has been encouraged by the main office and jump-started by the league's decision to allow individual teams to maintain rights to the products of potential youth development systems.


RSL's major 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. The supporters of the two clubs created a competition between the two sides to foster and memorialize this budding rivalry. 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 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),[24] 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.[25] 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.[26] 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.[26]


PeriodKit manufacturerShirt sponsor

RSL has a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with LifeVantage.[27][28] 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.[29] Additional sponsors include JetBlue Airways[30] and Maverik, Inc.[31]


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.[32]

Players and staff[edit]

Current roster[edit]

As of May.[33]

1GoalkeeperFernández , LaloLalo Fernández     Mexico
2DefenderBeltran, TonyTony Beltran     United States
3DefenderWatson-Siriboe , KwameKwame Watson-Siriboe     United States
4DefenderMaund , AaronAaron Maund     United States
5MidfielderBeckerman, KyleKyle Beckerman (Captain)    United States
6DefenderBorchers, NatNat Borchers     United States
7MidfielderAllen, JordanJordan Allen (HGP)    United States
8ForwardPlata , JoaoJoao Plata     Ecuador
10ForwardFindley , RobbieRobbie Findley     United States
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
17DefenderWingert, ChrisChris Wingert     United States
18GoalkeeperRimando, NickNick Rimando     United States
19MidfielderMulholland, LukeLuke Mulholland     England
20MidfielderGrabavoy, NedNed Grabavoy     United States
21MidfielderGil, LuisLuis Gil (GA)    United States
23MidfielderSaucedo, SebastianSebastian Saucedo (HGP)    United States
24GoalkeeperAttinella, JeffJeff Attinella     United States
25DefenderBalchan , RichRich Balchan     United States
26MidfielderVelásquez, SebastiánSebastián Velásquez     Colombia
27MidfielderStertzer, JohnJohn Stertzer     United States
28DefenderSchuler, ChrisChris Schuler     United States
29DefenderMansally, AbdoulieAbdoulie Mansally     Gambia
49ForwardSandoval, DevonDevon Sandoval     United States

Out on loan[edit]

22ForwardLopez, BenjiBenji Lopez (HGP; on loan to Arizona United)    United States

Notable former players[edit]

This list of former players includes those who received international caps while playing for the team, made significant contributions to the team in terms of appearances or goals while playing for the team, or who made significant contributions to the sport either before they played for the team, or after they left. It is clearly not yet complete and all inclusive, and additions and refinements will continue to be made over time.

Landmark appearances by players[edit]

Players with 200 appearances or more[edit]

1Nick Rimando USA21502007-Present

Players with 100 appearances or more[edit]

2Nat Borchers USA19492008-Present
Chris Wingert USA19412007-Present
4Kyle Beckerman USA193232007-Present
5Andy Williams JAM189142005-2011
6Javier Morales ARG176342007-Present
7Tony Beltran USA15502008-Present
8Ned Grabavoy USA14792009-Present
9Robbie Findley USA127352007-2010, 2013-Present
10Fabián Espíndola ARG125352007-2012
11Jámison Olave COL120102008-2012
12Will Johnson CAN11492008-2012
13Álvaro Saborío CRC107582010-Present
14Luis Gil USA100102010-Present

Retired numbers[edit]

Team captains[edit]

Head coaches[edit]

As of July 31, 2014
CoachNationStartEndGamesWinlossTieWin %
John Ellinger USAJan 2005May 3, 20077116391633.8%
Jason Kreis USAMay 3, 2007December 10, 2013261112856455.2%
Jeff Cassar USADecember 18, 2013Present2395958.7%
Rocky Mountain Cup 2011




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)
2014Fourth roundDid not qualify

Year-by-year stats[edit]

As of August 4, 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
2014229493327+636Joao Plata9/19
Total30811411282414392+22424Álvaro Saborío58

All-time regular season records[edit]

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

Team records[edit]

MLS regular season only, through August 4, 2014

MLS records[edit]

Player awards[edit]

Awards given by MLS to Real Salt Lake players.


Average attendance[edit]

Regular season / Play-offs


  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
  9. ^ Let's Review the New MLS Jerseys--Part I
  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. ^ "Real Madrid will be back in '08". September 2, 2006. Retrieved October 11, 2011. [dead link]
  20. ^ Name * (January 24, 2013). "A New Day for Real Salt Lake as Dave Checketts moves on". RSL Perspective. Retrieved June 8, 2014. 
  21. ^ "USSoccerPlayers: Sounders Already Scoring". April 10, 2008. Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  22. ^ Real Madrid will be back in '08[dead link]
  23. ^ Salt Lake Tribune article announcing the RSL-RM deal
  24. ^ "RSL Royal Army LTD Edition Scarf". Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  25. ^ Real Salt Lake Chants, Retrieved: February 11, 2014
  26. ^ a b Sports Business Journal, MLS club presidents on the season ahead, March 4, 2013,
  27. ^ Harvey, Tom (22 November 2013). "RSL to switch jersey sponsor". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  28. ^ "Real Salt Lake unveils new long-term jersey-front partnership with LifeVantage". 29 October 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  29. ^ PRWeb, XanGo Inks Historic Deal with Real Salt Lake, November 21, 2006,
  30. ^ Real Salt Lake signs JetBlue as airline partner
  31. ^ Royal Partners
  32. ^ [1], RSL 2012 TV Schedule.
  33. ^ "Players". Real Salt Lake. February 23, 2012. Retrieved December 3, 2012. 
  34. ^ a b c d Player Registry, accessed: June 10, 2014
  35. ^ Randy Davis (December 19, 2010). "The numbers behind RSL's record-setting season". Real Salt Lake. Retrieved December 3, 2011. 

External links[edit]