SANDY, Utah (Tuesday, December 15, 2020) – Real Salt Lake has announced the departure of Utah Royals FC General Manager Stephanie Lee. With her contract ending on December 31 she will be leaving the club.
Utah Royals FC ceased operations last week after the rights to players were transferred to an ownership group in Kansas City, Kansas.
“I have enjoyed my time in Utah, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to aid in building the Utah Royals FC organization from the beginning,” Lee said. “We had a grand vision and strategic plan to get there and it is a disappointment for us all that we won’t be able to see that come to life. But success requires resiliency, so for myself, our staff and our community, we will all learn and grow from this experience.”
When Utah Royals FC was first established in 2017, Lee was one of the team’s first hires, coming on as the Managing Director to help build the team from scratch. Prior to the 2019 season she was promoted to General Manager, during which she oversaw all operations for the team, including player acquisition, programming, scheduling and logistics.
“I want to thank Stephanie for her work in building and operating the Utah Royals,” Vice President of Soccer Operations Rob Zarkos said. “We are all devastated with the team moving to Kansas City, but no one more than Stephanie, who was integral in developing the vision and establishing the culture of the team. Stephanie has an incredible soccer mind and I have no doubt that she has a bright future as a sports executive.”
In addition, she served as Utah Royals FC representative on the NWSL Board of Governors and sat on the Competition Committee that helped to write and implement changes on the operations side of the league these past three years.
Perhaps her biggest success in this role was this year when she internally led the initiative allowing NWSL to resume competition with the implementation of the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup. As the host group, Lee was responsible for a large portion of the planning and execution at the tournament site and as a result of her work leading the team in Utah the NWSL became the first professional sports league to return to play and the first to host an entire tournament without a single positive coronavirus result.