Real Salt Lake is adding to its organization, as it was revealed on Thursday that it will field a team in the NWSL for 2018.
At a press conference on Thursday, it was confirmed that Real Salt Lake had acquired an NWSL entry for the 2018 season. The club–the branding for which will be revealed at a later date–will play its home matches at Rio Tinto Stadium, also the home of MLS’s Real Salt Lake.
During the announcement, many lauded the effort of Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen to make the Utah-based NWSL club a reality. Reports have indicated that the new Real Salt Lake NWSL club will take the place of FC Kansas City. When addressing those reports, NWSL managing director of operations Amanda Duffy would not confirm that FC Kansas City is going dark next year, but noted that the circuit plans to maintain its 10-team structure for 2018. More from The Salt Lake Tribune:
The soccer website FourFourTwo has reported and The Salt Lake Tribune has confirmed that FC Kansas City will cease operations for next season, though it is unclear what will become of that team’s players. Presumably, at least some of them will be Utah-bound.
NWSL Managing Director of operations Amanda Duffy would not confirm the demise of the Kansas City franchise, but did say that the league will remain in its current 10-team configuration next season.
“We’re in ongoing conversations with FC Kansas City right now about their status and plans for the future,” she said.
“Our goal is build the very best women’s sports organization in America,” Hansen said in a press statement. “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 U.S. 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 RSL 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,” Duffy said in a press statement. “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.”
For Real Salt Lake, this adds another component to an organization that already had a new $73 million training academy in the works. That facility–Zions Bank Real Academy, located in Herriman, UT–is expected to open in the coming weeks. The 2018 NWSL season begins in April.
Image of NWSL action courtesy Portland Thorns.