Real Monarchs SLC and reigning USL Coach of the Year Mark Briggs opened its first day of the 2018 preseason at the Zions Bank Training Center on February 1 as the team looks to defend its regular-season title from a season ago.
The Monarchs haven’t just begun its preseason however, all currently rostered players opened the first week of camp with Real Salt Lake’s first team one week ago to begin integrating and developing as a unit from top to bottom. The USL side had all 14 currently rostered Monarchs players training under RSL head coach Mike Petke’s staff together with Briggs’ staff since January 22.
“Having this building in Herriman, having us all together with the players and the staff, it allows us to have much better communication,” Briggs said. “Within the club we have many great minds and great knowledge to draw from together on every level this preseason which is vital.”
When the RSL first team left for Arizona on Wednesday, it carried with it some familiar faces from the Monarchs after the first week of training in an effort to continue the integration of the club. Currently with RSL in Tucson are Monarchs goalkeeper Andrew Punta, defender David Diosa and midfielders Maikel Chang, Sebastian Velasquez and Justin Portillo for the club’s eight-day stint in Arizona to supplement and grow with the first team.
“The great thing about the club now is everything is based on merit,” Briggs explained. “If you earn the right to go with Mike and play with the first team then you know you’re going to get an opportunity. Those boys have earned that opportunity and that’s the culture that we have to create.”
Integration has always been of the upmost importance for RSL and with the ability to place the Monarchs in training with the first team from the first day of camp has been vital to the understanding of what the expectations are at the club. Learning the expectations at the club while being able to see first-hand what the next level holds is now visible and tangible, carrying incredible value for players looking to grow in the sport.
“We’re a proper football club. We’re like every other club in the world,” Briggs explained. “We have a better facility that’s better than most clubs in the world. The standard has been lifted whether you’re a player, a coach or a staff member, everything at this club the level has been raised.”
The Monarchs will now take Saturday and Sunday to rest before a full week of training beginning February 5. The Monarchs will spend the first leg of preseason exclusively in Herriman before departing Utah for Davis, California on March 1. While in California, the team will play exhibition matches against Sacramento State University on March 3, Reno 1868 FC on March 7 and USL newcomer Fresno FC on March 10.
To cap the 2018 preseason, the team will then return home for one final exhibition match against Utah Valley University on March 16 as it carries a bye week during Week 1 of the USL regular-season. Real Monarchs will begin its title defense on March 24 when it visits Tulsa Roughnecks FC before opening its new 5,000 seat home in Herriman – Zions Bank Stadium – against Portland Timbers 2 on March 31. Tickets to the match can be purchased here: RSL.com/Monarchs or by calling 844.REAL.TIX.