Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake – What Real Salt Lake Is Made Of
Since its foundation in 2004, Real Salt Lake has been rising from the struggles that tried to break
the team apart. Even if the road wasn’t smooth for the Utah-based team, it has managed to
break through and continue its run. As a matter of fact, it is now leading the current season of
Major League Soccer (MLS), with 29 points on the Western Conference table. Many may be
wondering what motivates and drives the Royals. The present head coach Jason Kreis has a lot
to say about this. According to Kreis, the team is made up of talented and skilled footballers
that live and value the following tenets like Sacrifice, Commitment, Determination, Desire,
Passion, and Belief.
The adherence to these values by not only the players but also the entire staff is what enabled
the squad to win many games and lift the 2009 MLS title. It overcame other strong teams
such as Columbus Crew, Los Angeles Galaxy and Chicago Fire even though these squads were
bannered by star players like Guillermo Barros Schelotto, David Beckham, and Cuauhtemoc
Blanco. Salt Lake did all of it to take home the cup.
What kind of road Salt Lake travelled and how did it fare along the way?
The Start of Real Salt Lake
Salt Lake, whose home resides in Rio Tinto Stadium, started playing at the MLS in April 2005
after it became the 12th MLS franchise. Coach Kreis was actually among Salt’s first players and
was the one who made the club’s first-ever goal. It debuted against New York Metrostars. The
team’s inaugural season wasn’t impressive at all, as it suffered a 10-game losing streak to finish
with 5-22-5 win-loss-draw card. To deal with a series of losses and player turnovers, Salt Lake
recruited veteran players such as Clint Mathis, Jeff Cunningham, and Eddie Pope.
Then-player Kreis retired in 2007 to take the job as the Royals’ manager. He eventually became
the youngest coach at MLS. With Kreis and general manager Garth Lagerway supervising Salt
Lake, more key players like Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, and Robbie Findley were added to
the roster. These changes paid off as for the first time ever, the squad claimed a playoff berth in
The improvements didn’t stop, as the Royals resumed a strong campaign, which led to the 2009
MLS Cup, wherein they downed LA Galaxy on penalties. Last year, the Royals made another
headline for being the first MLS team to cruise to the final of CONCACAF Champions League.
They, however, dropped to the hands of Monterrey.
The Origin of “Real Salt Lake”
The term “Real” in the team’s name originated from a Spanish word meaning Royal. This term
is often used by top European football giants such as Real Madrid, which is one of the most
prestigious and successful clubs at the Spanish Premier League. Salt Lake established a bond
with Real Madrid in 2006, thereby adopting the title “Real” to its name.
The Royals’ colors include cobalt blue, claret red, and real gold. The name, colors, and badge
that Salt Lake uses serve as the reflection of football’s spirit as a unifying sport. Also, these
components show Utah’s diversity.
Leo the Lion serves as the team’s official mascot, which can be seen at games and events
involving the squad. A Bob Marley song titled “Iron Lion Zion,” on the other hand, is the team’s
victory song. Its anthem though is the “The Mighty R-E-A-L” performed by Meg & Dia, a local
indie rock group in Utah.
Notable Players of Real Salt Lake
While Kreis contributed a lot to the team during his captainship from 2005-2007, there are
other players who also shone bright. One of these is Alvaro Saborio, who was awarded the MLS
Newcomer of the Year in 2010. Jamison Olave is also a pride of the team, as he was named MLS
Defender of the Year two years ago. Nick Rimando was recognized as MLS Cup Most Valuable
Player in 2009, while Jeff Cunningham was grabbed the 2006 MLS Golden Boot award.
Greatest Rivals of Real Salt Lake
When it comes to football, rivalries are inevitable. In the case of the Royals, clubs like the
Colorado Rapids, Chivas USA, and Los Angeles Galaxy are the ones who pose the biggest
challenge to Kreis’ wards. Colorado Rapids, which Salt Lake’s closest neighbour in the Rocky
Mountain region, is the biggest rival. In order to build a healthy competition between the two
greatest rivals, an annual tournament called the Rocky Mountain Cup was launched. Colorado
won the Cup twice, while the Royals bagged it five times in a row from 2007-2011.
Real Salt Lake Achievements
Aside from the 2009 MLS Cup and five Rocky Mountain titles, the Royals also swept the Carolina
Challenge Cup in 2009. It was also a runner-up at the 2011 CONCACAF Champions League and
the 2010 MLS Supporters’ Shield.
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