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Why Salt Lake is a different sort of soccer city

We’re weird, and we accept that, but we still love our soccer.

MLS: Montreal Impact at Real Salt Lake Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

There will be at least 91 games played by professional soccer teams in Utah throughout 2019.

As of August 22, there have been 351,627 tickets sold to professional soccer matches in Utah in 2018 alone. There are two development academies, one men’s and one women’s that play in Utah and Arizona that feed into Utah teams.

Salt Lake has the fans, they have the academies, they have the teams. Salt Lake is a soccer city.

That’s a statement that is going to get a lot of hate from a lot of people, but if you look at it, aren’t we just as much of a soccer city as the big city teams? We are filling our stadium for our men’s team every single week and even have the second highest attendance in the NWSL for our brand new Utah Royals FC.

We aren’t Portland, and we will probably never be able to get what the Timbers and Thorns have, but for people to say Salt Lake isn’t a soccer city is disappointing.

Salt Lake has the same diehard fans as any other team in the league, we have the two-poles, we have the passion.

In the words of Real Monarchs die-hard, Nic Osterhout: “Having all three of these teams flourishing in various ways has been the best thing to happen to Utah in my eyes.”

It’s hard to be an outsider and realize just how special Salt Lake is. For Salt Lake fans though, Salt Lake is this holy grail of entertaining soccer, and pushing boundaries.

RSL, Real Monarchs and URFC fan Kandace Christensen said, “It’s been fun to see so many young girls watch international stars and see the looks on their faces when they realize that professionals play in their own backyard.”

It’s an exciting time in Salt Lake City. With one team sitting atop the table, another inching their way up, and a third fighting for a playoff spot, Salt Lake is a crazy place to be this time of year. From March to October, you can see a live soccer game at least once a week almost every week.

Now, having three soccer teams isn’t exactly a “specialty” of Salt Lake, since the likes of Seattle and Portland have it too but what separates Salt Lake from these teams is the unity throughout these three teams. We really are a big family, between our fans, the players, and the front office, there’s a really strong unity here and we all have one common goal, to grow soccer in our state and in our country.

So sure, we may not have the 60,000-seat stadium sold out, and we may not have massive whole-stadium tifo every single week, but Salt Lake is a soccer city in its own way.

We don’t get national TV coverage, we don’t get to sign the big names, and we don’t get the big stadium. However, what this “small town of Salt Lake” has grown, despite having little help, is a really passionate family of soccer fans.