During the official grand opening of the Zions Bank Real Academy, club owner Dell Loy Hansen announced that a team from Germany’s Bundesliga would be playing a friendly match against Real Salt Lake this summer:
RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen stated RSL will play a Bundesliga team in a friendly this summer, but is contractually not able to say which team yet.— Lucas Muller (@lucaswmuller) February 28, 2018
That’s exciting news for a number of reasons. It brings soccer from a part of the world that hasn’t been seen in Utah before, and gives fans here a chance to see an example of the fast-paced play that the top flight in Germany is known for. It carries the chance of seeing a few different USMNT players compete with their club teams in person. It also marks the beginning of one of the many uses that Hansen envisioned for the ZBRA facility when he announced it, which was that he intended it to be a place that top clubs around the world would be interested in using as a training center for their preseason for those looking to spend time in America.
The question then is who is this mystery team? It is already known that FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are playing in the International Champions Cup in the U.S. this summer, and it would certainly be a lot of fun to see Christian Pulisic on the pitch at Rio Tinto Stadium again. Hansen also mentioned that he wants the same opportunity for Utah Royals FC, which could mean inviting one of the clubs that has both men’s and women’s soccer. That rules out Dortmund, but includes Bayern along with other big name clubs like Bayer Leverkusen, VfL Wolfsburg, and 1899 Hoffenheim.
There’s also the possibility that while Andy Williams was in Berlin earlier this year working on the move of Damir Kreilach to RSL that he stopped to talk with Hertha Berlin about coming for a visit. Of course, there’s no way to know for sure until the announcement is made official, or until other clubs start mentioning they will be visiting America this summer. Regardless, it’s exciting to have a Bundesliga team visit our state and use our world-class facilities to train and play in.