Real Salt Lake and Special Olympics kicked off their joint 2018 MLS campaign with the team’s official “signing day” for the RSL Unified Soccer Team on, Friday at Rio Tinto Stadium.
This season’s RSL Unified Team sees 18 new players sign their contracts ahead of the new season before hearing team talks from Team Administrator Taymour Roushdi and Head Coach Jenna Holland.
“Today was such an exciting day for everybody,” Head Coach Jenna Holland reflected. “Special Olympics Utah is so incredible and to have the players from RSL’s first team and Royals FC here for that was really special.”
The team received its first look at each player’s 2018 uniforms before joining Real Salt Lake – including Head Coach Mike Petke – following the MLS club’s Friday morning training session. The players also had the opportunity to meet and greet players from the newly minted National Women’s Soccer League franchise – Utah Royals FC – prior to meeting RSL’s players on the field at Rio Tinto Stadium and take a photo with the players.
“It was pretty special to see the expression on the kid’s faces when they walked in the locker room and saw their jerseys,” Holland said. “Having them walk out on the field at Rio Tinto and know their favorite players are out there, kind of brings a tear to your eye to see the smiles on their faces.”
The full 2018 RSL roster is as follows:
Additionally, RSL Unified also welcomes new assistant coaches Ryan Creager, Sean Johnson and Rylee Johnson to this season’s staff. Holland and Head Athletic Trainer Alisa Graham return from the 2017 side that went undefeated.
RSL Unified will travel with Real Salt Lake to face the Colorado Rapids Unified Team on August 25th. RSL Unified will host LA Galaxy Unified on September 1st, immediately following RSL’s match against the Galaxy.
Unified Sports is an inclusive sports program that unites Special Olympics athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities) and partners (individuals without intellectual disabilities) as teammates for training and competition.