If you were at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday to watch the home debut of Utah Royals FC, you saw a crowd that was loud, passionate and excited.
In a way, it was one of the best atmospheres I’ve experienced at the stadium since maybe 2013. There wasn’t a pervading anger bubbling up, and there weren’t boos at halftime with the team down 1-0. The team didn’t win, but it felt like the crowd was supportive and thrilled all the same.
Late last week, we posed some questions to all of you, asking how you felt about the team. I wanted to highlight some of those responses, because in the context of the match, they told us a lot.
If you wanted to respond and didn’t get a change, we’ll include the questionnaire at the bottom of the page.
When asked what the Royals mean for soccer in Utah, Noel Gomez talked about the impact on girls’ soccer in Utah.
“I think that the Royals will have a huge impact on Girls soccer in Utah. Girls will get to see high level play and get to interact with the players. It will significantly raise the bar on the level of play across rec and comp leagues in Utah.”
Jacob Hampton told us why he’s excited:
As an avid sports fan w/ teams I love and support across many sports, this is the first time I’ve had a women’s team I can have a true, local connection with. It’s something that I don’t think I knew I wanted until I heard the news of their arrival, and now I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to support a new team in Utah where professional sports are sparse.
It’s another avenue through which locals can connect with the sport and be excited about it! I think RSL, the Monarchs and the Royals can all feed this interest and grow the community in a way that one team can’t alone. I’m also happy to hear my friends who have daughters excited about having the chance to see premier female athletes on a regular basis right at their fingertips. I think it’s a massive boost not only to soccer in Utah, but to the sports culture in general to showcase some of the world’s best talent.
Silvia Smith remarked on steps toward equality fostered by the Royals:
Women play such high-quality soccer, and I love developing the league into something more lasting and inclusive. I am stoked to have world-class athletes call our state home, and to see women take the field here.
Royals mean several things for Soccer in Utah. First, that soccer is here to stay, and represents everyone. Second, I think the presence of the Utah Royals is a huge step toward equality in sports. I love how the Royals have been welcomed as professionals, and I think it shows how seriously we’re taking soccer, and that we’re developing the sport at every level.