Real Salt Lake and Zions Bank have announced that the MLS organization’s new facility will be known as the Zions Bank Real Academy.
At an estimated cost of $60 million, the Zions Bank Real Academy will serve multiple functions for Real Salt Lake. Located on a 132-acre plot in Herriman City, in the Southwest corner of the Salt Lake Metro Area just 20 minutes west of Rio Tinto Stadium, the Zions Bank Training Center will house the daily training activities for five soccer teams: MLS’ Real Salt Lake, the USL’s Real Monarchs, as well as three age-group extensions of the club’s U.S. Soccer Development Academy, previously located in Arizona. For the first time this fall, RSL will provide a U-14 entry into the USSDA setup, while potential future additions include an RSL Women’s Professional Team, and other youth development age groups.
“For more than 140 years, Zions Bank has been synonymous with community,” said Zions Bank president & CEO Scott Anderson, whose relationship with Real Salt Lake dates back to the club’s inaugural season in 2005. “The vision that Dell Loy Hansen and the City of Herriman have for this development and the opportunities provided to the State of Utah and the Intermountain West align perfectly with Zions Bank’s long-standing commitment to creating value. We look forward to continuing our close association with Real Salt Lake, the Monarchs, Major League Soccer and the USL.”
“The development of this Academy represents the passion and commitment that Dell Loy Hansen and all of us at RSL have for an inclusive community,” said Andy Carroll, chief business officer for RSL. “We have been proud partners with Zions Bank each and every step of our organization’s 13 years to this point, and their commitment to not only the Herriman project but numerous other RSL initiatives continues to raise our game to another level; for that, we are very appreciative to Scott Anderson, Rob Brough and the entire Zions Bank family for their support.”
The Zions Bank Real Academy – which also includes the 5,000-seat Zions Bank Stadium, home of the USL Real Monarchs, scheduled to open this October – will also offer opportunities for high school, college and adult recreational soccer activity, as well as varying levels of rugby, lacrosse and other sports.
“As an organization, we believe that building the Zions Bank Real Academy as a gathering place from ground up, developing local talent on and off the field, and ultimately training that talent to an elite level, will lead to stronger community connection and all types of success,” says Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen, who joined the club’s ownership ranks in late 2009 and assumed sole possession of the club in January, 2013. “’AsOne’ and ‘RSL Family’ are not just slogans – these sayings are reflective of our purpose, as we work with area leaders such as Zions Bank and Jordan School District and Herriman City and others to provide whatever resources are necessary to field the best teams and educate the best people throughout our Academy to Monarchs to RSL and everything in-between.”
In Herriman, the Zions Bank Real Academy amenities include a total of 10 fields including the Stadium, with one each for school and Herriman City public use and a total of seven (7) regulation-size training fields (80 yards wide by 120 yards long). Four of the fields will be natural grass and outdoor, with the remaining three fields utilizing a state-of-the-art artificial surface from The Netherlands, including that of the 5,000-seat Zions Bank Stadium. Two of the artificial fields will be housed in the Zions Bank Training Center‘s iconic 208,000 sq-ft. indoor structure, the largest pre-engineered freespan building in North America. Atop this building will be a solar panel array from Utah’s own Auric Solar, at roughly half the size of its Rio Tinto Stadium installation.
“As I stated in our announcement a year ago, the Zions Bank Real Academy reframes the path for the professionalization of soccer in America,” said Craig Waibel, Real Salt Lake general manager. “This commitment from Mr. Hansen to build an organization – not build a building, not build a field and call it an organization – this is commitment beyond what that sport has seen in the United States. The commitment of one of the icons in our backyard, Zions Bank, to help identify the Academy’s connection to our community will define us for years to come.”
In addition to the items mentioned above, the Zions Bank Real Academy includes the campus for a 300-student STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) charter school developed in conjunction with Jordan School District, with 77,000 square feet of classrooms and a 90-acre campus. Intended to serve as what Mr. Hansen calls the “Harvard of Soccer,” the charter school will host approximately 50 students from out of state, with these students boarded on-site in a satellite structure. Adjacent to that structure will be facilities to house visiting Real Monarchs’ opponents, visiting academy teams, and facilities able to host international delegations visiting the area for events at both Zions Bank Stadium and Rio Tinto Stadium.