In my normal sphere of rugby (I'm a rugby blogger, but I still love my RSL) there has been a lot of recent chatter regarding equality between men and women. Recently, U.S.A. Rugby announced that they would be giving full-time rugby 7's contracts to 15 men and 8 women. To put this all in perpective, there are only a handful of professional women in the world, while the men have many established leagues. It would seem intituitive to give the men more slots (they have a higher profile) but it is the women that have been the better performers internationally and with the Olympics coming up in a short time, the women probably have a better shot at winning a medal. So to some, only giving the women 8 slots wasn't fair, thus the controversy.
But what does this have to do with Real Salt Lake? While they don't have any kind of controversy even close to what rugby does, they do have the opportunity to follow the example of other MLS teams and form a women's side.
D.C. United (W-League), Seattle Sounders (W-League), Vancouver Whitecaps (W-League), FC Dallas (WPSL), and Philadelphia (the Union do a lot of cross promotion with the Independence) all directly own women's teams or have connections to a team. True, the level of committment to these teams from each respective front office differs. For example, the Whitecaps are huge on the women's game while teams like D.C. United and FC Dallas are less connected. Real Salt Lake would be wise to join these teams and field a women's side.
Aligning with a women's team makes sense. While it may not be a money making venture, the symbolism of providing a platform for women could have great value among the community. They are saying that they care about the women's game and they want to see it grow. They are saying that they want to provide example to little girls who grow up wanting to play soccer. It would be a great community move that would generate a lot of good will.
The Wasatch front already has two teams in the WPSL. Even if RSL wasn't involved in the day to day operations, a sponsorship that would land them the naming rights to the team would suffice. No matter how they do it, Real Salt Lake would be amiss if they didn't take up the opportunity to field a women's side within the next couple of years.