When the NWSL came to Utah, I couldn’t wait to take my daughter to see world-class athletes that she could look up to and believe she could accomplish anything she wanted to in life. I went to the team store the minute I heard they had jerseys and bought the biggest size they had.
It was April 14, 2018. The excitement of this match cannot be overstated. The weather was perfect, the RIOT was full, Rachel Platten was performing, and it truly felt that we were witnessing something special. The team, the coach, the potential, it was all there. It felt that as the song soared over the stadium, that we were singing with Rachel:
This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me
A lot of fight left in me
Is it heartbreaking to see the same team we welcomed on that April afternoon leaving? Yes. Does it take anything away from that afternoon? No. That big ol’ crowd of 19,203 was welcoming a new era in professional soccer in Utah. It was the largest soccer attendance of the weekend, too.
Utah Royals' inaugural home opener crowd of 19,203 surpassed seven MLS clubs' attendance this weekend.— John D. Halloran (@JohnDHalloran) April 16, 2018
18,508 Kansas City
17,822 San Jose
15,017 New York
11,508 New England
Chicago Red Stars won that match, but that didn’t quell our excitement. That was a match to remember. I will always be glad I was there to see the Utah Royals FC take their home pitch for the first time.
And to continue with Rachel Platten’s song:
And it’s been two years I miss my home
But there’s a fire burning in my bones
Yeah, I still believe
Thanks for the warm welcome to the @NWSL! pic.twitter.com/CJ1u4WBeld— Utah Royals FC (@UtahRoyalsFC) April 14, 2018
I still believe in this team, even if they will soon be back in Kansas City. I still believe in Salt Lake as a soccer city. I still believe in this fanbase, and I look forward to when we can welcome women’s soccer back to Utah. And I still believe that when the Royals took the pitch for the first time, it was the start of something special, certainly a special day and memory.