HERRIMAN, Utah (Thursday, October 26, 2023) – Utah Royals FC, slated to kick off its “Return to Royalty” National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season in Spring, 2024, today unveiled multi-million dollar expansion and remodel plans for an NWSL-specific 12,260 square-foot training site at the Club’s Zions Bank Real Academy in Herriman, Utah.
The elite world-class facility now places all five Utah Soccer teams – including the re-established Royals, Real Salt Lake (Major League Soccer), Real Monarchs (MLS NEXT Pro) and the two RSL Academy boys sides – under the same roof for the first time in Club history, set to open in spring of 2024.
“We are so excited about the future of soccer in the state of Utah and couldn’t be happier to have the Royals coming back and in one of the best training facilities in the country,” said Ryan Smith, co-owner of the Club. “Investing in this training facility is the right choice for the Utah Royals, the Club, and our ‘One Utah’ sports family.”
The new and expanded training site emanates from the already existing Zions Bank Real Academy in Herriman, Utah, a 42-acre campus which includes five natural-grass outdoor fields, two full-size indoor fields, as well as the 5,000-seat capacity Zions Bank Stadium.
“The Utah Royals athletes, coaches & staff deserve to have everything they need to be at their best,” said David Blitzer, Co-owner of the Club. “We are incredibly thrilled to be investing in their future success by providing them their own dedicated space in our world class training complex, the Zions Bank Real Academy.”
The new Royals training center at the ZBRA aims to set a new standard for women’s professional sports worldwide, and will serve as the Royals’ daily home. The NWSL facility includes brand new, state-of-the-art sports medicine and performance-based facilities, the players’ weight and training room, equipped with top-of-the-line equipment. Alongside its new locker room, Royals players will have a dedicated hydrotherapy room, which will include hot and cold tubs, along with a sauna. In addition to the players’ lounge, the Royals’ wing will include spaces for childcare and nursing mothers.
“On behalf of the future athletes and our entire staff, I want to thank Ryan Smith, David Blitzer and the entire organization for putting their money where their mouths have been,” said Utah Royals FC Head Coach Amy Rodriguez, the iconic former U.S. Women’s National Team star and multiple World Cup and U.S. Olympic champion, who played three years from 2018-20 during the first URFC iteration. “The opportunities given and doors opened for us to set new standards for women’s professional sports are unprecedented and simply breathtaking. I could not be more proud to work with (Utah Royals FC President) Michelle Hyncik, (Utah Royals FC Sporting Director) Kelly Cousins and the entire Club as we are reborn, as we grow and as we double-down on the collective commitment to development, growth and success for Utah Royals FC.”
With the new addition, the Utah Royals will become one of the only dedicated training facilities for a women’s team in all of the National Women’s Soccer League, joining the Kansas City Current, which opened its site in the summer of 2022, and Racing Louisville, which moved into its new facility in January of 2021. Both the Orlando Pride and the Houston Dash also have their own dedicated spaces in conjunction with their Major League Soccer brethren.
When it first opened in 2018, the $78 million Zions Bank Training Center centered around the indoor portion of the facility, the ZBRA “box” still remaining as the largest free-span / pre-engineered structure in North America. During its first five years, the facility has become a popular training site for various clubs and leagues, including the National Lacrosse League, Utah Warriors rugby, as well as English sides from Chelsea FC, Crystal Palace FC and Wolverhampton; and Germany’s TSG Hoffenheim. The Utah State High School Activities Association also utilizes the facility for numerous tournaments and championships.
During the 2020 NWSL season, the Herriman-based training facility in the southwest corner of the Salt Lake Valley served as the host for the inaugural NWSL Challenge Cup, with 20 matches being played at Zions Bank Stadium, while also hosting half the teams as their training homebase throughout the tournament. This event allowed the NWSL to become the first sporting entity worldwide to return to play following that summer’s pandemic.
Season tickets for the 2024 Utah Royals FC season are now on sale by visiting www.RSL.com/UtahRoyals/tickets or calling 844-REAL-TIX.