Herriman, Utah - Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber visited Utah to join Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen in grand opening of the Zions Bank Real Academy.
This facility is a world-class training center for the RSL Academy, Real Monarchs, Utah Royals FC, and Real Salt Lake. The $78 million compound sits on 42-acre and includes the RSL Academy, a STEM public high school in Jordan School District, a dormitory for the academy players, and the 5,000-seat Zions Bank Stadium, home to the Real Monarchs. There are two indoor fields, five outdoor training fields, one public field, and locker rooms for the academy, Monarchs, and RSL. The Utah Royal’s locker rooms are located at Rio Tinto Stadium. There are also several weight rooms, team lounges, a cafeteria, and physical therapy resources.
Don Garber said, “The facility is absolutely awe inspiring.”
The MLS commissioner went on to say, “The future of Major League Soccer is how we get deeply connected in our community… When we build facilities like this that raise the bar below the first team, it just shows the commitment our owners have and how focused we are on building the soccer pyramid.“
Owner Dell Loy Hansen addressed the media with real affection in his tone for this project. He’s a man who is deeply passionate about soccer in Utah and his pride in his teams shows. It’s hard to tell if he’s more excited about bringing on the Royals or the academy.
In regards to the Royals, Dell Loy said, “We’re going after the best players and we’re going to show them that we’ll treat them right. We’re doing everything to show them that women’s soccer is on par with men’s and we’ve made that commitment with a million dollar locker room… I think we’re going to be an amazing team to watch. When you treat people well, they preform well and that’s exactly what I think is going to happen with the Royals.”
When asked about the challenge of being located in a smaller market, Dell Loy responded, “We’re not LA, we’re not New York, we’re not Atlanta, are we? We’re Utah. But that makes us special. We’re the Green Bay Packers of soccer. You’ve got to look at it that way. So we’ve got to do something special for our players, our community, and the world to look at, so why not be the best training facility in the United States?”
Watch Don Garber & Dell Loy Hansen’s full address here:
MLS commissioner Don Garber addresses the media. https://t.co/vB4OrOgFUN— RSL Soapbox (@rslsoapbox) February 28, 2018
After the press conference Don Garber, Dell Loy Hansen, officials from Herriman City, and Hansen’s team who helped to make this project a reality officially opened the facility. Head coach Mike Petke spoke as well. He thanked Mr. Hansen, congratulated the RSL Academy players on what they’d achieved but challenged them to continue in their player growth.
The day closed with an emotional Craig Waibel saying that Dell Loy asked him if he could dream of anything (in regards to soccer) what would it be, and he said “it’s all here, it’s all in front of you.”