Professional women’s soccer coming to Utah

Real Salt Lake
RSL GM Craig Waibel, NWSL Managing Director of Operations Amanda Duffy and team owner Dell Loy Hansen celebrate at Rio Tinto Stadium, future home of the new team. (Real Salt Lake)

Real Salt Lake announced the creation of a new women’s soccer team that will compete in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) beginning April 2018.

The club will be owned and operated by Real Salt Lake, playing its home games at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.

RSL became the fourth Major League Soccer franchise to include a women’s soccer club in the NWSL, which is in its sixth year of existence.

The team released a statement from the announcement meeting held this morning at Rio Tinto Stadium.

“We believe that our current infrastructure, as well as the development initiatives on the RSL horizon, align perfectly,” said RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen. “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.”

Utah Governor Gary Herbert and NWSL Managing Director of Operations Amanda Duffy were also in attendance at the press conference.

“Real Salt Lake has demonstrated their unquestionable desire and commitment to bring the highest level of professional women’s soccer to Utah,” said Amanda Duffy of the NWSL. “RSL will immediately be able to hit the ground running with a top-notch training ground and one of the best game venues in the country.”

Rio Tinto has hosted several U.S. Women’s National Team matches over the years, most recently in the fall of 2016, when BYU alum Ashley Hatch was featured on the squad.

Hatch currently plays for the North Carolina Courage in the NWSL and was named the league’s Rookie of the Year.

The BYU women’s soccer team was invited to the announcement event, as the franchise expressed their intentions to include as much local talent on the team as possible.

The team’s name, along with the announcement of players and staff, will come within the following days and weeks.

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