Real Salt Lake has long held the belief of playing a vital role in the local community, utilizing its profile and the sport of soccer as a great unifier. On Friday, Owner Dell Loy Hansen and the club formalized that relationship with the launch of the RSL Foundation.
“I’ve always believed in using the strength of the Real Salt Lake / Real Monarchs organization in a way that could benefit the community while continuing to grow the game in the region,” Hansen said. “It is our responsibility to be involved in the community that has embraced the team so much over the last 11 years and it’s an honor to be able to contribute in that way.”
The focus of the RSL Foundation aims to serve a mission of strengthening youth soccer, building healthy communities and supporting local green initiatives with strategic partners and focused giving. Through the foundation, RSL and Monarchs players, staff and fans will be able to serve the Wasatch Front by creating programs that make a difference in the lives of Utah residents.
“We are in an exciting position to harness the power of our sport and our amazing fans to impact lives in the community,” said RSL Foundation Director of Community Relations Mary Van Minde
The RSL Foundation got an early start on its efforts to go green when it partnered with Auric Solar and Rocky Mountain Power to unveil the State of Utah’s largest privately-owned solar array at Rio Stadium in October, 2015.
The club will utilize its expertise and resources in the soccer community to strengthen and provide better access to youth players while also creating the Youth Referee Scholarship Program to provide underserved youth the opportunity to become certified referees in the neighborhoods in which they live. RSL will also be holding tryouts this year for a Special Olympics Unified Soccer team.
In addition, the Foundation will take part in an after-school “Soccer for Success” program at a local elementary school, where an old unused tennis court will be converted into a futsal court as part of the Mini-Pitch Initiative engendered by Major League Soccer's "MLS W.O.R.K.S." arm and the U.S. Soccer Foundation.
The RSL Foundation will also provide fans an opportunity to volunteer in the community as individuals or as groups and will provide side-by-side volunteering opportunities with players and club personalities.