NWSL: New Franchise Comes To Utah


Utah is getting another professional franchise.

Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen announced at a Thursday press conference that the National Women’s Soccer League is bringing a team to the Beehvie State in 2018. The team will play all of its games at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy.

The deal to bring a team to the state of Utah was reached in just 15 days. And despite being involved in its $73 million project of the Real Academy in Herriman, Hansen has been set on getting a NWSL team in Utah for some time now.

“It’s a red letter day, very similar to when Real Salt Lake came to Utah,” Hansen said. “This deal came together very quickly. We always say Rome wasn’t built in a day, but you can’t blame us, we weren’t the contractors.”

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RSL chief business officer Andy Carroll added to Hansen’s excitement saying, “This club will be on-par with Real Salt Lake. We wish we had the opportunity to divulge the name and the logo, but those things will be coming very soon.”

The name, logos, colors, and jerseys will be announced in the coming days and weeks.

In the press conference, Hansen spoke of how the team will be a “rallying point for equality.”

“The locker rooms will be equal. The food will be equal. The participation will be equal. I honestly believe we will fill this stadium as easily as we do with the men’s team,” he said. “What we want to make this a rallying point for the evolution of equality for men and women in Utah.”

It was also announced that current RSL general manager Craig Waibel will be in charge of assembling the roster, and that interviewing of possible coaching candidates will begin in the next few days.

“We’ll be building a roster, and I’ll be the head of building the roster,” he said. “We’re already set to interview a coach in the next couple days. Our top target, and the coach we definitely want, is willing to listen. We’ll be bringing in a managing director that will report up to myself, and I’ll be working with him or her to establish how we build the roster.”

NWSL managing director Amanda Duffy, who was in attendance for the announcement, welcomed Real Salt Lake saying, “We are very excited to welcome Dell Loy Hansen and Real Salt Lake into the NWSL family as the newest member of our league. During our discussions in this process, RSL has demonstrated their unquestionable desire and commitment to bring the highest level of professional women’s soccer to all fans of the game in Salt Lake City and Utah. 

RSL becomes the fourth MLS franchise to include a women’s pro club, joining the Portland Timbers (Thorns), Orlando City (Pride) and Houston Dynamo (Dash). The NWSL just wrapped up its 5th season, which is the longest running U.S. pro women’s soccer league (the other two previous iterations lasted three seasons each). 

Some of the NWSL star players include a number from the U.S. Women’s National Team such as Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe and Julie Ertz.

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