Real Salt Lake
A Soccer Culture Thrives in Utah
Over the last 15 years, soccer fandom has descended upon Utah. Since Utah's Major League Soccer team, Real Salt Lake, arrived in 2004, the community has brought home the 2009 MLS Cup Championship, made it to the final of the 2010-2011 CONCACAF finals, added a United Soccer League (USL) team known as the Real Monarchs, added a National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) team known as Utah Royals FC, and created a world-class, $60 million Zion Bank Real Academy, a tuition-free, public STEM charter school focused on developing future soccer stars in grades 9–12.
If you're looking to experience the growth of "the beautiful game" in the United States of America, look no further than the shining example on the Wasatch Front.
Real Salt Lake (pronounced Ree-Al) plays in the stunning Rio Tinto Stadium — known to supporters as The RioT — in Sandy. The stadium boasts a mountainous backdrop and is accessible via the UTA Trax light rail line from the 9000 South Trax Station.
At the game, expect to hear from a handful of official supporters groups, including La Barra Real — the first and largest Latino supporter group — and the family-friendly Section 26, and Salt Lake United, usually donning black-and-white, with plenty of beards and tattoos.
Expect to hear everyone in the stadium sing the RSL "Believe" anthem (written by Rancid rock band member and passionate supporter, Branden Steineckert) at the start of the game, and after each goal. So, brush up on the lyrics.
The best food at the area is served up in advance of each event at the America First Credit Union Pavilion, located on Rio Tinto Stadium’s east side. The pavilion serves up live entertainment, and pre-game food and beverages, including local favorite R&R Barbecue.
If you happen to pick a sold out weekend and can't land tickets, you can still feel the passion at an RSL watch party.
For information and tickets visit rsl.com.
Photo (right): Christian Madsen