After Real Salt Lake made the announcement of Laura Harvey as the inaugural National Women’s Soccer League Head Coach on Monday, her life has been a whirlwind. When she first got the call, she was loading a surfboard onto her car while on vacation in Hawaii. Four days later, she was being flown to Utah.
“It’s been a whirlwind for sure. Putting a surfboard on my car sums up where my mind was right then. A couple days later I was on a plane to Salt Lake, and since then I feel like I’ve been back and forth a couple of times. Went to Portland to decide to the uniform and training kit for the team. And I’ve been on the phone talking about how we can build the roster moving forward and make sure the players have everything they need when we get here,” Harvey explained.
Building a team from the ground up is nothing new to Harvey. Five years ago she did the same for the Seattle Reign. Now with five years of NWSL experience Harvey knows the ins and outs arguably better than anyone in the league. Add the new Zions Bank Real Academy and Rio Tinto Stadium to the equation and she now has the ability to do things differently to focus on bringing an NWSL Championship to Utah.
“It is something that excites me. The facilities, environment, the resources are already settled for RSL, that was a huge pull. I walked around the facilities and my jaw dropped, I thought it was amazing. Then, speaking with Dell Loy and some of the other guys, I know how excited they are and all their ambitions for the club and I knew that was something I wanted to be a part of,” said Harvey.
Both RSL Owner Dell Loy Hansen and General Manager Craig Waibel have continued to emphasize how Harvey is the without a doubt the perfect fit for the Utah’s NWSL side.
“I’ve always been a big advocate for giving the right person the right job. I think in the women’s game is great to have female coaches, and I want to be able to help in anyway I can to produce the next female coach. I think it’s a huge statement by RSL that they wanted to invest in a women’s league, and I’m happy they picked me for the job,” Harvey explained.
Harvey’s entire life has revolved around soccer. Playing to the age of 22 before injury sidelined her, to being named the manager of Arsenal LFC before her 30th birthday, she moved across the Atlantic Ocean in hopes of conquering new challenges.
“I always had a drive to coach in America. I think whether you’re a player or a coach, coming to do that in the States is on most peoples bucket list. I had been at Arsenal for about four years then, and I didn’t know it at the time, but I think I was ready for a change,” Harvey said.
But with all of this time dedicated to her career, Harvey likes to spend her time away from the pitch exploring the outdoors. Finding excitement from strapping on her skis to coast down the slopes is something that made Utah such an enticing draw for Harvey.
“I am a huge skier. I won’t lie, that was part of my decision to come here. My dad is a huge skier too so he was pushing hard for me to take this job. I enjoy being outdoors, skiing, surfing, I’m all about that,” Harvey exclaimed.
Harvey says her short term goals are to finalize the roster and ‘make a splash early’ to let the rest of the league know that the Utah Royals are here to make an immediate impact. Long term, Harvey is looking to winning championships saying “It’s all about winning, for me.”