By CAITLIN MURRAY
Real Salt Lake’s foray into USL Pro finally has a name attached to it: the Real Monarchs.
RSL executives unveiled the Monarchs name and crest Wednesday at a presentation including new renderings of the proposed 8,000-seat facility to be added at the Utah state fair grounds. The team is set to begin play next year as RSL’s reserve team.
The construction of a new facility was approved last week by the fair grounds board, but the final project will need further approval. RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen said the stadium would cost as much as $18 million and be paid for by RSL.
The deal with the property owners would be for a 50-year ground lease with two 10-year options costing $10,000 annually, according to reports out of Salt Lake City.
As a slew of Major League Soccer clubs look to take advantage of USL Pro’s rapid expansion, RSL is only the latest to expand to the second-tier league. At least six other MLS clubs have joined or are interested.
The Los Angeles Galaxy joined USL Pro this year with the Galaxy II and the Montreal Impact will also join in 2015 with FC Montréal. The Vancouver Whitecaps say plans are on track to field their own yet-unnamed team in 2015 too, but they are still figuring out where the team will play.
The Seattle Sounders, Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas have all expressed interest in forming their own USL Pro reserve teams, but likely not until the 2016 season. USL Pro’s deadline to opt in for next year is Sept. 15.
Under an agreement signed between MLS and USL Pro in 2013, MLS clubs can choose to field a reserve team in USL Pro or partner with an existing franchise by 2015 as a way to bolster player development in both leagues and create a structured reserve system.
What do you think of the name and crest? Do you think it’s good for MLS to have more clubs add USL Pro teams?
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