RSL AZ will be led by Walid Kaakoush, Chairman, and Brent Erwin, CEO & Executive Director. Legacy GM, Nick Markette, will serve as the COO for the new group, and both Legacy and Sereno directors will collaborate to lead the largest club in Arizona.
SANDY, Utah / PHOENIX (Thursday, January 11, 2018) - Real Salt Lake and Phoenix-based Sereno Soccer Club today formally introduced a partnership re-establishing "Real Salt Lake Arizona" to continue the Club's developmental foothold in the Grand Canyon State. Sereno Soccer Club has merged with Legacy Soccer Club under the Claret-and-Cobalt umbrella, with more than 7,000 boys and girls between the ages of 4-18 now composing the Phoenix-based organization.
The partnership allows Real Salt Lake to continue its Arizona-based initiatives for the sport of soccer across the intermountain west, as the RSL Academy - led by U.S./Mexican legend Martin Vasquez - moved to Herriman, Utah, in August of this year as part of the Zions Bank Real Academy, opening just 15 minutes from Rio Tinto Stadium, following six U.S. Soccer Development Academy seasons in Casa Grande, Ariz.
"Our continued investment in and commitment to providing development opportunities for the youth of Arizona is critical to the club's success at every level," said RSL General Manager Craig Waibel, noting the recent inclusion of RSL players and Arizona natives Justen Glad and Brooks Lennon to the senior U.S. National Team. "Utilizing the RSL infrastructure and vision, under the guidance of Mike Kraus and the accomplished Sereno staff, provides numerous opportunities for boys and girls across Arizona, not only to provide a professional pathway in the RSL pyramid, but more importantly to gain the benefits from teamwork, fitness, discipline and competition."
Located in Phoenix, Sereno has long been one of the premier youth soccer clubs in the United States and the top club in Arizona. During its nearly four decades of history, Sereno accounts for over 150 Arizona State Championships, 12 Regional Championships, four National Finalists and 2 National Championships.
The newly-combined RSL-Arizona has developed more than 30 professional players in the men's and women's games' highest levels, while boasting more than 70 players who have represented 14 countries at the youth or senior level amongst its alumni base. Notable Sereno products with ties to Real Salt Lake include current RSL midfielder Brooks Lennon, Real Monarchs SLC midfielder Danny Cruz and former players such as Robbie Findley. Current and former U.S. Women's National Team icons hailing from the Arizona development juggernaut include Julie Ertz and Sydney Leroux, among others.
"The partnership to re-establish ‘RSL-AZ' is yet another example of Mr. Hansen's commitment to promote and invest in the youth development of soccer in our territory," said RSL-AZ Academy Director Mike Kraus , a USSF A-licensed coach and a former MLS player with Kansas City who has worked with RSL and/or Martin Vasquez since 2012. "We have found a terrific partner in Sereno, a club with an unparalleled history in Arizona as well as an extremely qualified and ambitious staff of coaches. With Sereno, Legacy and our other collaborations, we are very excited to provide elite training, competition, and coaching with a professional pathway for the boys and girls of Arizona."
During the recent changeover, Real Salt Lake is refocusing its Academy in Arizona with Sereno to help develop and support the players of Arizona and surrounding areas. The training and match facilities for RSL-AZ will be in the heart of Phoenix for easy access for players from across the Valley and state.
In addition to the boys Academy, the RSL-Sereno partnership also introduces an RSL-Arizona girls academy to facilitate upward movement to the new Utah Royals FC of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), which kicks off its season at Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah this Spring. The RSL-Arizona Academy expands the depth and breadth of elite girls' academies with a direct connection to a NWSL team.
Prior to the Real Salt Lake Academy relocating to Herriman, the Arizona-based academy solidified itself as one of the most prominent and successful youth development programs in the United States. The Arizona partnership arrives only a month after RSL opened a regional training facilities in North Logan City, Utah. Providing a location for players, coaches, referees, clubs and individuals from Cache Valley and beyond the opportunity to gather and engage for training and learning opportunities, the facility is the first of eight planned satellite training facilities across Utah and Arizona.
The $6 million, privately-funded North Logan Regional Training Facility is equipped with a regulation-size indoor field and is situated proximate to an outdoor pitch at Meadow View Park, the resources available to the public to be used to facilitate time on the ball for youth players aged 7-14 years old. Future regional training center locations are planned to be built in the next four-to-five years along the Wasatch Front in Utah, from Logan in the north to St. George in the southern edge of the state, as well as a pair of Arizona locations proximate to both Phoenix and Tucson. The facility will also provide rental opportunities for local youth clubs in Cache County and surrounding areas to train as well as opportunities for local adult leagues to be hosted throughout the year. Additionally, one regulation size outdoor field is slated to be constructed at a later date just east of the facility to be used for the same purposes.
SERENO HISTORY: For more information on Sereno and the club's 40-year history in Arizona, please visit http://www.serenosoccer.com/serenoalumni.
RSL PRESEASON 2018: Petke and Real Salt Lake kick off the club's state-of-the-art, world-class training existence on Monday, January 22 in Herriman, Utah, at the Zions Bank Real Academy, in advance of preseason trips to warmer climes on Jan. 31 (Tucson) and Feb. 11 (Orlando). Detailed preseason rosters, schedules and details will be released in the near future. For up-to-the-second information on all things Real Salt Lake, please visit the team's official web site at www.RSL.com or join the conversation and interact with fans on any of the team's social platforms.
2018 MLS HOME OPENER: RSL's March 10 home opener against expansion side LAFC kicks off an early-season run with three of its first five games at its Rio Tinto Stadium home, where the Utah-based side has enjoyed a prominent home-field advantage since permanently moving in Sandy, boasting a dominant 105-26-44 mark in the world-class venue since opening in October, 2008.
2018 TICKETS: All 2018 packages, which start at just $280 for lower bowl seating, allow extraordinary access to RSL at Rio Tinto Stadium. All 17-game packages include every RSL regular-season game and additional events, which historically have included CONCACAF Champions League participation and/or Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup contests.
The 2018 RSL season - which starts on March 3 at Dallas and ends in late October - boasts a Saturday-heavy home slate, with ZERO Sunday home games - and includes an RSL bye in the 23-team league on the Sun., Oct. 28 MLS "Decision Day" finales - and just two non-holiday midweek home contests (Wed., May 30 v. Houston, and Thurs., Oct. 18 v. New England).
As previously announced, Real Salt Lake opens Rio Tinto Stadium against Western Conference expansion side Los Angeles FC ("LAFC") at 1:30 p.m. MT on Saturday, March 10. Visit www.RSL.com or call 844.Real.Tix now to access 2018 Season Tickets and Flex Vouchers. Individual seats for the March 10 opener, starting at $25 and up depending on location, in the heavily-anticipated kickoff go on sale this Monday, Jan. 8, along with 2018 RSL "mini-packs." The remainder of the 2018 RSL slate will be available on an individual basis starting in February.
For more information about the venue's numerous premium seating options - Toyota 100 Lions Club, suites, Audi Executive Club options, field-level or ledge boxes, the Zions Bank Club Seats and more - please call 801.727.2700 and ask for Kathy, Adri or Renee. 2018 season tickets, customized mini-packs or individual tickets for the March 10 home opener against expansion side LAFC can also be ordered the RSL website: www.RSL.com/tickets.