More honors for Real Salt Lake

There is a good write up from today's Deseret News about the resolution from a couple weeks ago that was presented to the US House of Representatives.

Here is the actual text of the resolution

 

HON. JASON CHAFFETZ of utah in the house of representatives Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mr. CHAFFETZ. Madam Speaker, we would like to recognize Real Salt Lake for their inspiring MLS Championship victory. Some people had all but lost hope that they would compete in the playoffs, but the playoffs were just the beginning of their Cinderella rise to the top. Beginning with their first win in the playoffs against defending champions Columbus Crew and ending with the final win over the star-studded LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake proved themselves to be a championship-caliber team. Rather than relying on a few star players, this team proved the power of teamwork and the value of believing in one another. Led by their first-time coach/former player Jason Kreis and Captain Kyle Beckerman, they validated to the world what they already knew. Never giving up, Real came from behind to win in a high pressure penalty kick. We would like to congratulate Real Salt Lake and thank them for bringing a championship home to Utah.

This wasn't the only action on Capitol Hill in Washington that was about RSL, read the senates version after the break

RECOGNIZING REAL SALT LAKE SOCCER TEAM

Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I rise and offer my congratulations to the Real Salt Lake soccer team, the newly crowned champions of Major League Soccer. While Utah has a number of sports teams with proud traditions-- both collegiate and professional--Real Salt Lake has brought to my home State its first major professional championship since 1971, when the Utah Stars won the ABA title. Fans throughout Utah are thrilled.

Real Salt Lake came to Utah in 2004 and faced difficulties during its first three seasons. In just its fourth season, however, Real Salt Lake made an improbable run to the Western Conference Finals, despite only sneaking into the playoffs on the last day of the regular season. They eventually lost that game by a score of 1-0, but with their first playoff appearance, and opening their new world class soccer-specific stadium, their future was filled with promising signs.

In 2009 Real Salt Lake delivered on that promise. Once again, it was the last team to qualify for the playoffs and was the lowest overall seed. Despite barely squeaking into the playoffs, this team of overachievers sure made some noise once they got there. They quickly reeled off a string of consecutive upsets against glitzier opponents with established stars, dispatching top-seeded and defending MLS champion Columbus and then powerhouse Chicago and its star Cuauhtemoc Blanco.

On November 22, the title game in Seattle pitted the little-known upstarts of Real Salt Lake against the Western Conference champions, the Los Angeles Galaxy and its mega-stars Landon Donovan and David Beckham. After 90 minutes of regulation play and 30 minutes of overtime, the game remained tied at 1-1. In the penalty kick shootout, Real Salt Lake emerged victorious 5-4 as Donovan's potential game-tying spot kick sailed harmlessly over the crossbar. Real Salt Lake had delivered the first championship of its kind in Utah in nearly four decades--and it couldn't have come in a more exciting fashion or to a more deserving group of athletes.

In the end, it wasn't the Galaxy of stars that prevailed; it was Real Salt Lake with its philosophy that mirrors the words emblazoned on the sign in its home locker room: ``THE TEAM IS THE STAR.'' That teamwork was certainly on display in the title tilt against Los Angeles. It was reflected in Real Salt Lake Robbie Findley's breakout 64th-minute strike that knotted the score at 1-1 and made the team's overtime and penalty kick heroics possible. It was reflected in the play of Salt Lake goalkeeper and Cup final MVP Nick Rimando, who turned away penalties from L.A.'s Jovan Kirovski and Edson Buddle before besting Donovan. Finally, RSL's determination to overcome the odds also mirrors that of its owner, Dave Checketts, coach Jason Kreis and general manager Garth Lagerwey--all of whom turned the team into a champion despite the naysayers who said it couldn't be done.

No, Real Salt Lake's roster did not have the league's biggest stars. But in the words of midfielder Clint Mathis, better known as Cletus, RSL was ``the better team in every game.'' As much as anything else, that explains why champion Real Salt Lake is now the brightest light in MSL's firmament.

Once again, I congratulate Real Salt Lake on this accomplishment. Senator Bennett and I have introduced a resolution expressing the Senate's congratulations for Real Salt Lake and I urge my colleagues to offer their support.


Mr. BENNETT. Mr. President, I wish to commend and congratulate Real Salt Lake for winning the 2009 Major League Soccer Cup. I am delighted to do so, and feel it is a privilege to honor the MLS Cup champions on the Senate floor. The story of Real Salt Lake is more than just a story about a soccer team capturing the MLS title; it is a story about banding together to overcome obstacles and defying the odds after being counted out and dismissed by ``the experts.'' In many ways, the story of Real Salt Lake is part and parcel of the American experience.

On November 22, 2009, in Seattle, WA, Real Salt Lake, or RSL, faced off against the better-known and widely acclaimed L.A. Galaxy. Just to give a sense of what RSL was up against, listed on the roster for the Galaxy were U.S. National Team star Landon Donovan, and the internationally acclaimed, indeed iconic, David Beckham. The RSL roster, on the other hand, didn't include what's known as a ``designated player,'' or in other words, a recognized superstar. If that wasn't enough, the Galaxy entered the postseason riding high, having finished at the top of the Western Conference in the regular season with a 12-6-12 record, and were expected by most to perform well if not to win the championship. RSL had a far different experience during their regular season, finishing with an 11-12-7 record. Indeed, they barely managed to make it into the eight team playoff that would determine the MLS Cup Champion.

Considering these facts, it would have been easy for RSL to give up. But that wasn't their attitude. When asked about not having a star player, instead of bemoaning that fact, the team's captain, Kyle Beckerman, said, ``We've really bought into the `star is the team' here in Salt Lake. When we work as a team and [are] doing well it's because everybody's playing well. It pays off.'' This team unity had initially paid off in the postseason for RSL as they defeated the defending champion Columbus Crew, and beat the Chicago Fire in the Eastern Conference finals. Despite this, many doubted whether they could win against the Galaxy in the championship game.

When asked about their chances, head coach Jason Kreis sarcastically replied, ``Wow, it sounds like we better not even go. We don't even have a chance, do we?'' He knew RSL possessed something special. Even in the final match, such outspoken optimism would be tested. By halftime, RSL was trailing 1-0. Two of their key players were unable to continue playing, sidelined by injury and illness. If ever there was a time to give up, it seemed that this was it. But that wasn't their attitude. Coach Kreis made a pair of substitutions, and encouraged his players to ``be confident,'' and play aggressive. And, well you can see where this is going. After 90 minutes of play, 30 minutes of overtime, and seven rounds of penalty kicks that included two blocked shots by RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando, defender Robbie Russell converted the final penalty kick to seal the victory, establishing RSL as the champions of Major League Soccer.

Now I wish to place this victory into some context. This was significant for Utah in that it was the first professional sports crown to go to the State of Utah since the Utah Stars basketball team won the American Basketball Association title back in 1971. RSL's victory was notable not only because Jason Kreis, at the age of 36, became the youngest manager in MLS history to lead his team to the title, but also because RSL became the first franchise in professional sports history to win a championship after finishing the regular season without a winning record. Think about that for a minute--if there is ever a reason to dismiss a team, a losing record in the regular season should be it. But that wasn't RSL's attitude. Rather than dwelling in self- pity and regret, RSL fought on, determined to prove their detractors wrong. They believed they could beat the entire league, and they went out and did just that. Their story exemplifies the American values of hard work, resilience, and overcoming the odds.

Once again, I congratulate RSL for their victory; I join with their fans in celebration of this championship; and I hope that this is one of many more championships to come for Utah.

 

We can determine two things from these statements, first the senate is much more long winded than the house, and second it is clear that more than health care is on the minds of everyone in Washington DC.  Now this happens with each sports team that claims a title but it is just nice to see RSL getting their moment in the sun.

OFF MY SOAPBOX

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