SANDY, Utah (Thursday, December 1, 2016) – Real Salt Lake General Manager Craig Waibel announced the hiring of Director of Physical Performance Henry Ruggiero on Thursday after he spent the previous eight years working on the Strength and Conditioning staff for University of Washington athletics. In addition, RSL and the club's long-time Sports Science and Performance Director Dan Barlow have mutually agreed to part ways.
“Henry brings tremendous experience to our staff after his years with Olympic sports at Washington,” said Waibel, who worked with Ruggiero at UW during his time as an assistant coach on the men’s soccer team. “As we progress into a new era for our club that will include RSL, the Monarchs and our Academy teams all training at the new facility in Herriman, his experience will be vital in advancing our club on all levels.”
Ruggiero was promoted to the role of Director of Strength and Conditioning for Olympic Sports in May of 2012 after spending three years in the program. In addition to overseeing the Olympic Sports Strength and Conditioning Staff, Ruggiero worked directly with the Husky men’s soccer and women’s volleyball and track teams. Ruggiero is a graduate of Springfield College located in Springfield, Massachusetts, earning his degree in Applied Exercise Science with a focus in Strength and Conditioning. In addition to his eight years at the University of Washington, Ruggiero was a research assistant at the University of Connecticut and was an intern at both the University of Southern California and Boston College.
“My time at UW has been hugely rewarding. It’s where I met my wife and I’ve been able to grow as a professional and Real Salt Lake is going to let me keep making those steps with amazing people. That’s what sets UW apart and that’s what sets Real Salt Lake apart and that made Carly and I want to come is the people that are there,” Ruggiero said. “It’s an amazing opportunity to be a part of a club that is dedicated to being the best and hopefully doing something that can change the face of soccer with the new facility.”
Real Salt Lake's regional training center opens in Herriman, Utah, approximately 20 minutes southeast of Rio Tinto Stadium, with a scheduled opening in the late summer of 2017. The $50-million facility will serve as the daily training home beginning in 2018 for both of the club's professional teams – RSL (MLS) and Real Monarchs (USL) – while centralizing the club's U-18, U-16 and future U-14 development academy youth selections.
“First and foremost, I want to thank Dan for his commitment to the club and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jeff Cassar said. “On the field, in the locker room, in the front office, and soon to be in Herriman and across our Youth Training Academies in Utah and Arizona, the entire 'RSL Family' must continue to fine-tune our philosophies, learn from each other and our networks of contacts, and forge ahead, as one.”
Barlow has served on RSL’s staff since 2007, working as the Head Fitness Coach and evolving the club’s fitness program to incorporate new techniques and technologies to keep the club on the cutting edge of sports performance, working closely in recent years with the club's jersey-front partner, LifeVantage, on recovery isotonic and other nutritional regimens.
“I am honored to have spent the last 10 seasons with Real Salt Lake, and proud of the successes I've been a part of here. I've made some great friends at the club and the city has become home to my family,” Barlow said. “With every job comes a time to move on and I'm excited for the next opportunity. All the best to the players, the coaching staff, and the fans.”
Cassar and Waibel expect to have further announcements regarding the coaching staff in coming weeks.