Welcome to the RSL Cup blog

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.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Avaya Stadium Facts: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Best Stadium in Major League Soccer


(by Luke Stangel Avaya.com/blogs 3-2-15)

Avaya Stadium opened its doors to the public this past weekend, inviting 10,000 raucous fans to watch the San Jose Earthquakes defeat the L.A. Galaxy 3-2 in preseason exhibition play. For thousands of diehard Earthquakes supporters, it was their first time exploring the new, $100 million, state-of-the-art facility.

The response was overwhelmingly positive. On Twitter, fans tagged their compliments with #avayastadium, saying things like: “Avaya Stadium is seriously so awesome. Can’t wait to go back in three weeks,” and “Avaya Stadium is beautiful.” Check it out.

Some of the facts about Avaya Stadium are well-known and often-quoted: It’s the world’s first cloud-enabled soccer stadium, home to the largest outdoor bar in North America, Major League Soccer’s steepest-raked stadium seating, and California’s second-largest LED scoreboard.

We thought we’d take a closer look at some of the lesser-known facts about the stadium, and why we think it’s the best stadium in Major League Soccer.

Fabric-Based, Bulletproof Networking

Today’s connected sports experiences demand a super-fast network backbone inside the stadium. Traffic from voice calls, live video, financial transactions and mobile fan engagement experiences all run over the same infrastructure, making 99.999% uptime an absolute requirement.

We built the network using Avaya Fabric Connect, the same scalable, flexible, secure software-defined architecture that we used to build the network at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

One of the neat things about Avaya Fabric Connect is that it’s capable of prioritizing traffic dynamically, allowing data-hungry, business-critical applications, such as IP video or credit card transactions, to get uninterrupted access to the network. During periods of peak traffic, less-crucial applications–say, Facebook or Instagram–get deprioritized access to the network.

The network is powered by just 39 Avaya ERS 4850 switches. That simplicity is the hallmark of Fabric Connect, allowing organizations to quickly and easily administer their network.

The Earthquakes gave us 90 days to install the network infrastructure at the stadium. We did it in 30.

Not a Bad Seat in the House

All 18,000 seats are good. The European-style, steep-raked, single-deck bowl seating means that fans sitting at the very top have an incredible view of the entire field of play.

Avaya Stadium is shaped like a horseshoe. At the horseshoe’s opening, facing the San Jose Mineta International Airport, is the double-sided LED scoreboard—the second-largest LED screen in California.

Underneath that scoreboard is the 3,647-square-foot, redwood- and terrazzo stone-accented outdoor bar—the largest outdoor bar in North America. The bar is home to more than two dozen bartenders and 45 beers on tap.

Holding that beer, you now find yourself just feet away from the field of play—right behind the goalie in the 2-acre fan zone. It’s remarkable how close to the action you really are.

The multicolored seats form a pattern than contains a secret code. The first person to crack the code wins two tickets to the 2018 World Cup Finals.

It’s Really Loud

Under those 18,000 seats is Sandwich Plate System flooring, which was designed specifically to amplify the sound of people stomping their feet in unison. That sound carries up to the canopy roof, which bounces it back down onto the field, and out of the horseshoe opening.

“It’s really loud,” said San Jose Earthquakes President Dave Kaval. “I think it’s a differentiator. … I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and I sat in the Dawg Pound going to games when I was 8, 10, 12 years old. That energy is what makes you an avid fan, it’s what makes you crazy for your team. That’s why European soccer is such a huge force in worldwide sports and we can have the same thing here at Avaya Stadium. It’s the way we’ve designed the venue, the way we focused on technology, the way we brought in partners like Avaya, and I think it’s going to be something that’s truly monumental.”

It’s Permanent

The San Jose Earthquakes started playing in 1974, and were among the first 10 teams to join Major League Soccer in 1996. For the team’s 20-year history with Major League Soccer, it has never had a permanent home, mostly playing at San Jose State University and Santa Clara University.

In 2005, San Jose temporarily lost the Earthquakes to Houston, mostly because the team couldn’t find a suitable stadium site in Silicon Valley. The Earthquakes returned in 2008, and broke ground on the stadium in late 2012.

“It’s been a 40-year history of the Earthquakes here in the South Bay and we’ve never had our own home,” Kaval said. “We’ve always been renting from someone else and not having your own home means you don’t actually have somewhere you can call your own and there’s always uncertainty at how long you’ll be in the community.”

Two-and-a-half years, hundreds of thousands of man hours and 3,174 tons of steel later, Avaya Stadium is that permanent home.

What’s next for the team? This month, they travel to Texas to take on FC Dallas and Washington State for a match with the Seattle Sounders FC. They return to Avaya Stadium on March 22 to take on the Chicago Fire for their first regular season home game.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Some nice tifo from the first couple of weeks of the season

New York City home opener

San Jose home opener and new stadium

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Monarchs announce new stadium proposal in West Valley

(by Jasen Lee deseretnews.com 3-3-15)

One community’s loss is another one’s gain.

After being unable to hammer out an agreement to build a new soccer facility at the Utah State Fairpark, the Real Monarchs have announced a new stadium proposal.

Franchise owner Dell Loy Hansen told an audience at a news conference Tuesday that the team had signed a letter of intent to develop the project in West Valley City in the area near the Maverik Center.

“We picked the best opportunity,” Hansen said.

The deal came together rather quickly, he explained, as officials from West Valley City contacted Real Salt Lake to pitch a plan for development of the stadium.

Under terms of the proposed agreement, the Real Monarchs would lease land from the city for 40 years with two five-year extension options. The team would fully fund construction of the new 8,000-seat stadium at a cost of approximately $23 million, said Real Monarchs president Rob Zarkos.

“We plan on funding — with our own credit and our own cash — 100 percent of everything,” Hansen said.

The team has pledged not to use any municipal bonds for the project and likely not use any tax-exempt bonds either, he added.

“We’d like to be a gift to the city and don’t want to be an albatross,” Hansen said.

Last month, Hansen notified Utah State Fairpark administrators that the club had rescinded its January proposal for the stadium development at the fairgrounds.

Several weeks ago, Hansen had announced his intention to build an $18 million stadium at the Fairpark, with the facility to serve as the future home of the Real Monarchs.

In an effort to expedite the stadium's development, Hansen agreed to pay the entire cost of construction, contingent on the state extending the Fairpark's lease on the fairgrounds for an additional 40 years.

A Fairpark board member said the only major hurdle to construction of the new stadium was the extension of the lease. But tedious legislative wrangling prompted the team to pull out of the deal, saying development would not be able to begin in a suitable timeframe since the team hopes to begin construction on a facility this summer.

West Valley City was able to compose a plan to attract the Monarchs about 24 hours after learning of the team’s decision to rescind their initial proposal from the Fairpark, explained Nicole Cottle, assistant city manager and community and economic development director. Working through the night, officials were able to come up with a plan that was very suitable to the team and workable for the city, she said.

“By bringing this to our city and with the plans that Mr. Hansen has, we see this as an active, everyday sort of a facility,” Cottle explained. “We feel like this is a huge impact on our city from an (economic) perspective.”

Hansen said upon meeting with West Valley City planners, he was extremely impressed with their offer and decided to act immediately. As for the new project proposal, the two sides have 60 days to work out the final details of a long-term agreement.

After enduring long discussions with the state and Salt Lake City, Hansen said the new deal made the most sense. Even though it would be a bit more expensive, he said it was the best move to make for the long-term future of soccer in the area.

“We want to help Utah and to develop Utah soccer and have the youth here participate, and we’re looking for where we can do that best,” Hansen said.