Real Salt Lake (RSL) is an American professional soccer club that competes as a member club of Major League Soccer (MLS)' Western Conference. RSL began play in 2005 as an expansion team of the league. The club plays its home games at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, a suburb of Salt Lake City.
Real Salt Lake won the 2009 MLS Cup. The team also finished runners-up of the 2013 MLS Cup, the 2010 MLS Supporters Shield, the 2010–11 CONCACAF Champions League, and the 2013 U.S. Open Cup. The team has been led since the start of the 2014 season by head coach Jeff Cassar, who was previously an assistant coach with the club.
The title "Real" (Spanish pronunciation: [reˈal]) is a Spanish word which means "royal" in English. The term is usually used by Spanish clubs who have received royal patronage from a reigning Spanish king, the most famous of which would include Real Madrid, Real Betis and Real Sociedad. In choosing the name "Real", owner Dave Checketts intended to create a brand name that would become well known for its simplicity, as well as an association with the world-famous club in Madrid that the club had been striving toward. Some of the reasons/factors behind using Real was based on the founder/then-owner (Dave Checketts') time in Europe having admiration for Real Madrid during his time as the general manager of the Utah Jazz National Basketball Association franchise. Checketts also found it encouraging that Real Madrid had a basketball team as well.
Local reaction to the new team's name was initially met with mixed feelings, as fans believed that using a traditionally Spanish name was akin to a move of cultural appropriation. On top of that, some thought that the name sounded contrived, and did not truly reflect the Salt Lake area, with other team names such as "Highlanders", "Salt Lake SC", or "Union SLC" being more preferred. However, in recent years, reaction to the name has improved, with the team establishing its identity as a representative of Salt Lake.
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