Zions Bank Real Academy new home for Real Salt Lake development pyramid

SANDY, Utah (Wednesday, May 24, 2017) – Real Salt Lake Owner Dell Loy Hansen and Zions Bank President & CEO Scott Anderson announced today that the club’s world-class, $60 million, Herriman-based facility will be known as the “Zions Bank Real Academy.”


“For more than 140 years, Zions Bank has been synonymous with community,” said Anderson, whose relationship with Real Salt Lake dates back to the club’s inaugural season in 2005. “The vision that Dell Loy Hansen and the City of Herriman have for this development and the opportunities provided to the State of Utah and the Intermountain West align perfectly with Zions Bank’s long-standing commitment to creating value. We look forward to continuing our close association with Real Salt Lake, the Monarchs, Major League Soccer and the USL.”



Located on a 132-acre plot in Herriman City, in the Southwest corner of the Salt Lake Metro Area just 20 minutes west of Rio Tinto Stadium, the Zions Bank Training Center will house the daily training activities for five soccer teams: Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake, the United Soccer League’s Real Monarchs, as well as three age-group extensions of the club’s U.S. Soccer Development Academy, previously located in Arizona. For the first time this Fall, RSL will provide a U-14 entry into the USSDA setup, while potential future additions include an RSL Women’s Professional Team, and other youth development age groups.


“The development of this Academy represents the passion and commitment that Dell Loy Hansen and all of us at RSL have for an inclusive community,” said Andy Carroll, Chief Business Officer for RSL. "We have been proud partners with Zions Bank each and every step of our organization’s 13 years to this point, and their commitment to not only the Herriman project but numerous other RSL initiatives continues to raise our game to another level; for that, we are very appreciative to Scott Anderson, Rob Brough and the entire Zions Bank family for their support.”



The Zions Bank Real Academy – which also includes the 5,000-seat Zions Bank Stadium, home of the USL Real Monarchs, scheduled to open this October – will also offer opportunities for high school, college and adult recreational soccer activity, as well as varying levels of rugby, lacrosse and other sports. 


“As an organization, we believe that building the Zions Bank Real Academy as a gathering place from ground up, developing local talent on and off the field, and ultimately training that talent to an elite level, will lead to stronger community connection and all types of success,” says Hansen, who joined the club’s ownership ranks in late 2009 and assumed sole possession of the club in January, 2013. “’AsOne’ and ‘RSL Family’ are not just slogans – these sayings are reflective of our purpose, as we work with area leaders such as Zions Bank and Jordan School District and Herriman City and others to provide whatever resources are necessary to field the best teams and educate the best people throughout our Academy to Monarchs to RSL and everything in-between.”


In Herriman, the Zions Bank Real Academy amenities include a total of 10 fields including the Stadium, with one each for school and Herriman City public use and a total of seven (7) regulation-size training fields (80 yards wide by 120 yards long). Four of the fields will be natural grass and outdoor, with the remaining three fields utilizing a state-of-the-art artificial surface from The Netherlands, including that of the 5,000-seat Zions Bank Stadium.  Two of the artificial fields will be housed in the Zions Bank Training Center's iconic 208,000 sq-ft. indoor structure, the largest pre-engineered freespan building in North America. Atop this building will be a solar panel array from Utah’s own Auric Solar, at roughly half the size of its Rio Tinto Stadium installation.



“As I stated in our announcement a year ago, the Zions Bank Real Academy reframes the path for the professionalization of soccer in America,” said Craig Waibel, Real Salt Lake General Manager. “This commitment from Mr. Hansen to build an organization – not build a building, not build a field and call it an organization – this is commitment beyond what that sport has seen in the United States. The commitment of one of the icons in our backyard, Zions Bank, to help identify the Academy’s connection to our community will define us for years to come.”


In addition to the items mentioned above, the Zions Bank Real Academy includes the campus for a 300-student STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) charter school developed in conjunction with Jordan School District, with 77,000 square feet of classrooms and a 90-acre campus. Intended to serve as what Mr. Hansen calls the “Harvard of Soccer,” the charter school will host approximately 50 students from out of state, with these students boarded on-site in a satellite structure. Adjacent to that structure will be facilities to house visiting Real Monarchs’ opponents, visiting academy teams, and facilities able to host international delegations visiting the area for events at both Zions Bank Stadium and Rio Tinto Stadium.





Zions Bank, a division of ZB, N.A., is Utah’s oldest financial institution and is the only local bank with a statewide distribution of financial centers, operating 100 full-service centers. Zions Bank also operates 23 full-service financial centers in Idaho and one in Wyoming. To help create value for individuals, small- to middle-market businesses, nonprofits, corporations and institutions, Zions Bank offers a wide range of traditional banking and innovative technology services. Zions Bank is recognized as a leader in small business lending and has ranked as the No. 1 lender of U.S. Small Business Administration 7(a) loans in Utah for the past 23 consecutive years. Founded in 1873, Zions Bank has been serving the communities of Utah for more than 140 years. Additional information is available at www.zionsbank.com.



Real Salt Lake recently kicked off its 13th Major League Soccer season in 2017, the Utah side seeking a return to the postseason for the ninth time in the last 10 years. The club’s MLS Cup 2009 victory marked the state of Utah’s only major professional championship in nearly 40 years, the title preceding an historic run to the 2010/11 CONCACAF Champions League Final. Buoyed by a passionate base now approaching 14,000+ season ticket holders, RSL has enjoyed a prominent home-field advantage since building its permanent Rio Tinto Stadium home in Sandy, boasting a 101-24-46 mark in the building since its opening in October, 2008.


In 2015, the club expanded its development pyramid with the addition of Real Monarchs, one of several MLS-operated clubs playing in the USL, the United States’ Division II setup. DF Chris Schuler, FW Ricardo Velazco, FW Emery Welshman have utilized Monarchs experience to earn first-team contracts, while former Academy standout FW Andrew Brody works his way through the pyramid. Inaugural Monarchs Head Coach Freddy Juarez – now an assistant on Mike Petke’s first-team staff – had enjoyed success developing homegrown players at the RSL-Arizona Academy in Casa Grande, Ariz., prior to moving to the professional ranks. Eight Academy graduates now occupy first-team roster spots: GK Lalo Fernandez, FW Ricardo Velazco, MF Jose Hernandez and MF Jordan Allen, along with current U.S. U-20 World Cup standouts DF Justen Glad, MF Danilo Acosta, MF Sebastian Saucedo and FW Brooks Lennon.


Lastly, the RSL Foundation was established in 2016, created with the goals of being active in the community year-round, utilizing the popularity and reach of RSL and the Monarchs in promoting health and wellness in children throughout the region, engaging supporters of soccer to raise funds and volunteer time for various local initiatives.