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The RSL Way: Club releases guiding vision, mission document

After what was a very bad 2020, Real Salt Lake’s core brass is moving forward with a newly stated vision and mission.

Portland Timbers v Real Salt Lake Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

In what is a clear repudiation of what has come before, Real Salt Lake has released a mission statement, a vision, and a set of values that are club-defining.

Let’s briefly go over some of what’s in the document released to the public today.

What is this document?

Let’s just quote the document itself.

The information contained in this document is representative of the cultural and footballing identity of Real Salt Lake.

My understanding is that this is something that Tony Beltran, assistant general manager and former player, spearheaded. It’s the sort of thing that resembles his public persona: It is organized, well-spoken, and thoughtful. But it’s clearly not about him — it’s about a vision for the club.

Mission statement

To lead and inspire the soccer culture in Utah.

Nothing too unusual there.

What’s notable about the history section?

There are several notable parts for me. The first is the history portion, which actively recognizes the role of Ute, Paiute and Shoshone tribes in the area that later became Utah.

The territories that make-up Utah today were first home to Shoshonean speaking tribes. These tribes, made up predominantly by the Ute, Paiutes and Shoshones, encountered great difficulties in cultivating the scarcities of the Utah landscape, with the climate of the land being fairly arid and the resources there insufficient to sustain them. This toil of the initial inhabitants, and their eventual harmony with its nature, is emblematic both of Utah history and its future peoples.

In many ways, it speaks more to the diversity in the state’s early days than any of my history classes in elementary school did:

A large outside population was also brought to the state during WWII, as soldiers trained on various military installations in the northern areas of Utah, and with many southern workers migrating to the state in pursuance of vacant wartime jobs. The Immigration Act of 1965 and a displaced population of Southeast Asian refugees provided the third impetus for diversification.

Why does the history matter? Again, the document speaks to that:

In whatever degree or age the Club occupies, it will forever be a product of the cultural endeavors of those who came before it and built the state into what it is.

What are the club’s stated values?

Pride, industry, harmony, community and integrity.

What’s this code of ethics about?

This is the biggest repudiation of the Dell Loy Hansen era, for me. It’s worth reading in its entirety. Some highlights:

Real Salt Lake, its players, coaches and employees should endeavor to be a model of ethics for the community. This includes the obligation to meet a standard code of conduct in all athletic, social and business activities. The level of expected conduct is outlined in the code of ethics.

The diversity of Real Salt Lake and the Salt Lake City community is a valued asset. In accordance with MLS, the Club is an equal opportunity employer, that maintains and upholds a zero tolerance policy for discrimination and harassment in any form, including that of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, disability veteran status, or any other characteristics protected by law. Abuse and/or offensive or harassing behavior of any kind will not be tolerated. The reporting of such conduct in good faith will not be retaliated against.

The Club acknowledges the demands of working in professional sports, and the unconventional time constraints and limitations it can place on a work life balance. Due to this, and to the Club’s commitment to act in the best interest of its culture and employees, the Club will make a concerted effort to accommodate the varying personal circumstances of its employees as it relates to the achievement of a healthy and fulfilling equilibrium.

Does this talk about anything on-field?

Why, yes, it does. (It’s almost like I asked that question of myself in a leading way. Whoops.)

The club sets out the following philosophies: Aggressive, selfless and disciplined.

These are not guiding principles that have anything to do with a formation (thankfully), but each one has a bit about it that is illustrative.

Aggressive: Conviction to play attacking and industrious soccer and to control the tempo of the game, regardless of scenario.

Selfless: Prioritizing team success over individual accolades.

Disciplined: Organized, deliberate and resolved in all areas of the pitch.

These are things Real Salt Lake, at its worst over the last several years, has not been. Measuring any of this is difficult but interesting, and it is nice to have a vision of what we should be looking for from the club and judging them by.

What about the front office?

Again, from the document:

Development: Commitment to create, cultivate and champion opportunity through internal growth.

Integrate: Complete commitment to uphold the pursuits, beliefs and philosophies of the Club.

Inclusive: An environment that builds value in trusting the diversity of its people.

This is all great stuff, and it’s a huge step forward for the club after what was at times a very dark era.