Real Salt Lake adds NWSL team two years ahead of schedule

In a deal that took all of two weeks to consummate -- two years ahead of schedule -- Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen reached an agreement with the NWSL to bring a women's pro team to Salt Lake City in 2018.

MLS-operated teams in NWSL:
Portland Thorns (2013)
Houston Dash (2014)
Orlando Pride (2016)

The team will play at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy and train at the new Zions Bank Real Academy in Herriman. The NWSL will remain a 10-team as it is expected to shutter the struggling FC Kansas City.

Hansen said he'll add 16 staff members to operate the team but will rely on the current RSL as the backbone. Besides RSL, he also operates the Real Monarchs, who play in the USL.

"We're two years ahead of schedule, Hansen said. "We just have to run a little faster."

RSL general manager Craig Waibel, who worked on the deal, was an assistant women's coach at Rice when he played for MLS's Houston Dynamo. He'll work on hiring a head coach and managing director to oversee the team's operations.

Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen:
"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."
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