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Opportunity beckons for Real Salt Lake Women

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The WPSL-Elite Champs have a new league; will NWSL also be in the team's future?

Captain Annie Hawkins dribbles past defenders (photo by Trev Mozingo)
Captain Annie Hawkins dribbles past defenders (photo by Trev Mozingo)
Trev Mozingo

Cast your memory back to the Spring of 2013; RSL had just finished a great 2012 season reaching both MLS playoffs and Open Cup final, but we need not relive the results of those events). In the aftermath RSL was forced to shed players to remain under salary cap constraints; Will Johnson departed for Portland, followed by Jamison Olave and Fabian Espindola for New York; but things were still looking positive. Dell Loy Hansen bought out Dave Checketts for sole ownership of the club, and many new promising players had joined the team for preseason including Joao Plata, Aaron Maund and Jeff Attinella.

One other item that made some waves among fans was Hansen's announcement that Salt Lake United Women's team (formerly known as Sparta United) was being brought into the RSL Family, and re-branding as RSL Women.

As Salt Lake United the team had made some great achievements, any one of which may have been responsible for attracting Hansen's attention.  In 2012 the team won the WPSL Western Region Champions after defeating women's powerhouses California Storm and San Diego Sea Lions.  They then went on to the WPSL Final 4 in Florida only to get knocked out in the semi-final by the Gulf Coast Texans, who would go on to win the championship.

During their inaugural season as RSLW, the team would go on to rack up a 4-2-1 record with a +5 Goal Differential; good enough for 2nd place in their conference, as well as reaching the finals of the USAA Women's Amateur Open Cup, before ultimately losing to the Chesapeake Charge.

The 2014 season saw a conference change - mainly playing west coast teams, but saw similar results; a 6-2-2 record with a +11 GD, 3rd in Conference, and 4th in the Open Cup.

During the 2015 preseason buildup Hansen dropped another announcement; he had approached the NWSL to take RSL Women to first division. At least for present that appears to be on low broil until the new academy and stadium is built, but SLC is still listed as an expansion target for NWSL.

RSL Hoping to make RSLW the 10th NWSL Franchise

While RSL was languishing during their injury-filled 2015 season; RSL Women managed to rack up a record of 11 wins, 3 ties and 1 loss with a +34 GD; 2nd place in the conference, and ultimately claiming the WPSL Elite 2015 Championship. Six of RSL Women's players were named as WPSL All Stars.

WPSL-Elite Champs

RSLW holding Championship Cup (photo by Bryan Byerly)

The 2016 season is about to start with a big opportunity. RSL Women have left the WPSL behind for a newly formed league – United Women's Soccer (UWS aka UWoSo), which will be equal to the WPSL on the US Soccer Pyramid (2nd). The UWS formed as a response in part to the folding of the W-League, as well as some organizational problems within the WPSL. It begins play on May 14th and runs through July 23rd, with 11 teams split into 2 conferences. RSL is the only team in the league currently affiliated with a MLS team.

United Women's Soccer League

UWS East

  • Lancaster Inferno
  • Long Island Rough Riders
  • New England Mutiny
  • New Jersey Copa FC
  • New York Magic
  • TSF Academy Valkyries

UWS West

  • Colorado Pride
  • Colorado Storm
  • Houston Aces
  • Real Salt Lake Women
  • Santa Clarita Blue Heat

Head Coach Mark Davis comments that "We are thrilled to be joining United Women’s Soccer. We are really looking forward to the match-ups we will be having in the UWS West."

RSLW Coach Davis Trev Mozingo

Head Coach Mark Davis (photo by Trev Mozingo)

RSLW will play 8 games in the 2016 regular season, with the possibility of league playoff.

  • Saturday, May 28 – RSLW vs Houston Aces (7PM) Davis High School Stadium

  • Saturday, June 4 – Houston Aces vs RSLW (6PM) Houston Sports Park

  • Saturday, June 11 – RSLW vs Santa Clarita Heat (6PM) Davis High School Stadium

  • Friday, June 17 – Colorado Pride vs RSLW (7PM) Colorado College, Stewart Field

  • Sunday, June 19 – Colorado Storm vs RSLW (12 PM) Sports Authority Field

  • Sunday, June 25 – Santa Clarita Heat vs RSLW (7PM) Masters College

  • Wednesday, June 29 – RSLW vs Colorado Storm (6PM) East High School

  • Thursday, July 7 – RSLW vs Colorado Pride (6PM) East High School

You can follow Real Salt Lake Women on Twitter, and Facebook, or the team's Social Media page.

The UWS is a national women’s soccer league sanctioned by U.S. Soccer through the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA). UWS is a professionally operated league created for teams that meet high minimum standards. The season runs from May until the end of July, culminating in a National Championship match. The UWS player pool is comprised of college players, aspiring & former professionals and international stars. You can follow UWS on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.