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RSL starting U-12 youth program to supplement academy setup

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

In a press release today, Real Salt Lake announced the creation of an under-12 youth team with an aim toward graduating players into the Arizona academy setup.

The move expands the club's academy reach significantly, and it's the first official RSL academy club in Utah — a big step toward achieving long term goals outlined in the past by owner Dell Loy Hansen.

The team will be managed by RSL president Bill Manning and Shane Jones, a former indoor player and coach with the highly successful Utah-based youth club setup Sparta United.

The stated goal for the team is to graduate players into the Arizona academy and its residential setup, RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey said in the press release.

"This is an age-group we have become familiar with since Bill started coaching them a few years ago," Lagerwey said. "It is exciting to start a program here in Utah and hopefully we prepare these boys to graduate to RSL Arizona Academy at Casa Grande in a few years. We decided to start with this young age-group now, and anticipate in two years that this team and another based in Arizona will represent us at the U-14 level of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy League."

Open trials for the team will take place in May.