With the inaugural Utah Royals FC season well underway, the excitement around women’s soccer in Utah has never been higher. Though the arrival of the National Women’s Soccer League to the state has fanned the flames, the foundation for the growth of the game was laid down by Real Salt Lake Women, who began play under the RSL Family banner in 2013.
Founded in 2008 as Sparta United, the team was invited to take on the name and colors of RSL by owner Dell Loy Hansen. After winning the WPSL Elite Championship in 2015, the team chose to join the newly formed United Women’s Soccer the following season. Offering more consistent competition, the new league has been a big success in the growth of women’s soccer and has continued to expand every season.
Though the makeup of the West Conference has changed a lot over the first three seasons, one constant has been the fierce battles with Santa Clarita Blue Heat. The Los Angeles-area club has been one of the strongest teams in the league, winning the first-ever championship in 2016, and making it to the final again in 2017 before losing to Grand Rapids.
RSL Women have a record of 0-3-1 against Santa Clarita all-time, though all three losses have come by a difference of only one goal, and have been closely contested matches. With several players returning to the club this season, including 5 players from the University of Utah soccer team, and several club veterans who were on the URFC preseason roster, head coach Mark Davis will look to earn his first win over the Blue Heat, and start the season off on a great note.
Kickoff is tonight, May 18th, at 7:00 PM on the indoor field at the Zions Bank Real Academy. Tickets are available at the door for $10.