Club Entertaining Alternative Site Plans for 2016 Venue
Real Monarchs / Real Salt Lake Owner Dell Loy Hansen today notified Utah State Fairpark Chairman of the Board, Roger Beattie, and the Fairpark’s Executive Director Michael Steele that the club has rescinded its January proposal for the stadium development at the Fairpark.
“I must convey our deepest gratitude to both Mr. Beattie, Mr. Steele, the Fairpark Board and countless others for their efforts in trying to make this happen,” said Hansen, who committed to the Fairpark nearly one month ago, pending a lease extension from the State for the property.
“Roger has been tireless in driving this project’s vision and Mike has pushed for decisions to take the Fairpark into a new era. Unfortunately, the timing and process involved with this project no longer make the venue a viable option for the business plans regarding the Monarchs and ancillary properties.”
Back on January 24, Hansen and Beattie jointly unveiled a signed term sheet – contingent on the State of Utah extending the Utah State Fairpark Corporation’s lease on the Utah State Fairgrounds for an additional 40 years (the current lease expires in 2017) – for the construction of an $18 million, 8,000 seat stadium at the Utah State Fairpark, with the stadium to serve as the future home of the Real Monarchs SLC (USL) soccer team. In an effort to expedite the stadium’s development, Mr. Hansen agreed to pay the entire cost of construction.
Slated to kick off in March of this year, Hansen formed the USL Monarchs as an elite lower-division professional squad which bridges the gap between Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer and the club's highly-lauded academy at the Grande Sports complex in Arizona, which has produced a perennial pipeline of NCAA Division I players, young professionals and has consistently competed for numerous national championships at the U-18 and U-16 levels in recent years.
For the inaugural 2015 Monarchs season, the club will play a 28-game regular-season slate in the 12-team Western Conference, with additional participation in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The club will share Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy with MLS Real Salt Lake, while continuing to seek opportunity throughout the valley for a permanent Monarchs home.
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I've been a fan of Real Salt Lake since it joined MLS and took to the field in 2005, and I've been a fan of MLS since it began in 1996. Lately however I've started to worry about the path MLS is taking and the poor decisions they are making that in my mind threaten the growth of soccer as a whole in the US. (see "Columbus conspiracy" section) Soccer in America will grow only when we have a vibrant and diverse minor league system, something that MLS seems to be smothering at the moment. (see "American soccer wars" section) Let's keep our eyes on the situation and hope for the best, a future where grass-roots soccer and the minor leagues can not only exist but flourish, as well as where the contributions and history of the league's early clubs are appreciated and preserved.