Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Real Salt Lake have announced that they will field a team in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) starting from the 2018 season.
The currently unnamed outfit will play at the Rio Tinto Stadium, which already hosts Real Salt Lake and their United Soccer League (USL) affiliate, Real Monarchs, with more details about the brand and roster to be revealed in the near future.
Real Salt Lake’s general manager Craig Waibel will serve in the same role for the women’s team while the club identifies and interviews head coaching candidates. The new side is expected to replace two-time NWSL champions FC Kansas City in the ten-team league, which enters its sixth year in 2018.
“Our goal is to build the very best women's sports organisation in America,” said Real Salt Lake’s owner Dell Loy Hansen. “Only 15 days ago was I asked to look into this opportunity, and as we learned about the NWSL vision from the league office and met with A&E executives as well as US Soccer about their aspirations on and off the field, we knew we not only wanted to join as quickly as possible and participate, but we believe that our current infrastructure as well as the development initiatives on the Real Salt Lake horizon align perfectly.
“Our community is already passionate about women's sports, and we believe that empowering and advancing the women's game accelerates the change to build a better Utah.”
“We are very excited to welcome Dell Loy Hansen and Real Salt Lake into the NWSL family as the newest member of our league,” added Amanda Duffy, managing director of operations for the NWSL. “During our discussions in this process, Real Salt Lake has demonstrated their unquestionable desire and commitment to bring the highest level of professional women’s soccer to all fans of the game in Salt Lake City and Utah.
“Real Salt Lake will immediately be able to hit the ground running on the business side as well as provide the players with a top-notch training ground and one of the best game venues in the country.”