After arriving to the club in November 2017, Utah Royals FC head coach Laura Harvey has been planning for the Utah side's inaugural season. After signing United States Women’s National Team co-captain Becky Sauerbrunn, USWNT veteran Kelley O’Hara, and drafting two college players at the 2018 NWSL draft, Harvey has worked endlessly to finalize a roster, hire staff, and organize a preseason schedule before training in mid-February. What most teams do in a year, Laura Harvey has done in 90 days.
Among the chaotic days of phone calls, contracts and coaching, Harvey has now begun assisting Real Salt Lake Head coach Mike Petke in RSL’s preseason schedule at the new $78 million Zions Bank Real Academy in Herriman, Utah. Welcoming her to the franchise, Petke invited Harvey to help coach at practice sessions with the preseason RSL squad.
“The opportunity to work with Mike and his staff has been a huge honor for me,” Harvey said, after she started working with the RSL staff on Monday. “The chance to learn off these coaches is invaluable. Getting to see how the club works day to day has been a great learning opportunity for me. I’m really happy to be given the chance to see how the MLS side of the club works behind the scenes.”
Harvey brings immense experience to the preseason regimen. Former head coach of the Seattle Reign (NWSL), Harvey accrued a 51-33-26 regular season record, the second-best all-time record in the league. To cap off an impressive record with the Reign, Harvey earned back-to-back Coach of the Year awards in 2014 and 2015. It was in those same consecutive years that Harvey would be named to the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football shortlist. Prior to working with the Reign, Harvey also coached at Arsenal LFC from 2008-2012, where she won the FA Women’s Cup in 2009 and 2011 and was named the 2011 FAWSL Coach of the Year. Her coaching style encourages heavy possession beginning in the defensive third, a style that has proved successful in the NWSL.
Harvey will aid Petke in preparing for Real’s upcoming scrimmages against the LA Galaxy and San Jose Quakes in Tucson, Arizona next week. Mike Petke, another defensive minded coach, also carries a hefty resume. After appearing in over 300 games and scoring 13 goals as a defender in the Major League Soccer, Petke accepted the head coaching position with the New York Red Bulls in 2013 where he led them to their first major trophy—2013 MLS Supporter’s Shield. Petke was later hired in 2017 to guide the Real Monarchs, the United Soccer League affiliate for the RSL franchise, where he went undefeated (1-0-0). Just three months later, Petke was named the head coach for RSL, where he went 8-3-4 over the final 15 matches of the 2017 regular-season. This will be Petke’s first preseason with RSL and his training sessions with Harvey have already been focused on possession and building into the attack.
"Laura is a part of the RSL family now. We are extremely happy that she's here, and extremely happy that we now have a women's team," said Petke. "Being that she is a part of the family now, it is important that she be here alongside me to help collaborate. Her resume speaks for itself, and it's been great to have her opinion amongst others. And to have her on the field and be able to communicate with her -- she obviously has a great mind for the game -- it has been great working with her. "
You can see Harvey and the rest of the Utah Royals FC at Rio Tinto Stadium beginning this April. Tickets for the 2018 Utah Royals FC season are now on sale at www.RSL.com/NWSL or by calling 844.Real.Tix.