This week on Off the Crossbar, we've talked to Trey Fitz-Gerald, Real Salt Lake's vice president of communications, about the upcoming USL Pro endeavor the club is undertaking.
From that, we're updating you with the latest developments on the next step in the club's development.
Updated 10:15 a.m. to add additional details.
When would the team play?
Real Salt Lake's USL Pro team would start in 2015 at Rio Tinto, 2016 at the Fair Park -- ideally. At Rio Tinto, the stadium would be downsized in some way. Presumably this is largely blocking off the top sections and the south end, but it's hard to say.
Would the team ever play outside of the greater Salt Lake area?
Actually, maybe. One of the ideas they've been kicking around at Real Salt Lake, Fitz-Gerald told us, is having the USL Pro team play US Open Cup games in locations across the state. We think that would be kind of cool.
What difficulties are provided by playing at Rio Tinto Stadium?
It's not cheap -- we already have at least 17 home games at the stadium, and 15 more would be a real undertaking.
What's the biggest advantage of playing in 2015?
Fitz-Gerald was pretty definitive about what he saw as the biggest advantage: bridging the gap between the first team and the academy. He specifically mentioned some of our more fringe players as those who would benefit -- Aaron Maund, John Stertzer, Devon Sandoval -- and some of our academy graduates -- Justen Glad, Jordan Allen, Sebastian Saucedo.
The question everyone's asking (especially us): What's the team going to be named?
Fitz-Gerald wasn't budging on names the club is considering, and he told us that there's no consensus favorite internally. But he did reassure us that it wouldn't be "Real Salt Lake II," with LA Galaxy sort of snatching that one up already. We can expect a name or a shortlist of names in 45 to 60 days, he says.
He did shed some light on identity, though.
It will be something, I'm sure, that's closely related to rsl and our kind of 'royal heritage', if you will. Who knows, maybe it plays off of the lion or the mascot ... it'll be very closely related, maybe share the colors, maybe give us the chance to create some new merchandise that's slightly different but related and sharing a color palette with all the existing RSL stuff.
When would the team play?
That's still very much up in the air, but the big thing Fitz-Gerald told us was that the club had no interest in cannibalizing its own ratings. He kicked around a few ideas, all of which would be interesting.
Who would coach the team?
That's a big question that hasn't been decided yet, but it'll be a decision made by Garth Lagerwey, Jeff Cassar and Cassar's coaching staff. Which makes sense, really.
How would players go between the two teams?
That's a good question, and it's not really one that's been decided. Part of it depends on if new roster and player rules are introduced next year, following the MLS Collective Bargaining Agreement. The USL Board of Governors is meeting in September, and that's where some of that will at least be discussed, if not set in stone.