The Utah Royals will return to the NWSL as an expansion team in 2024, and they’ll do so with a top-of-the-line training facility.
The Royals have unveiled plans for a multi-million dollar upgrade to their training facility, which is scheduled to be completed in time for the upcoming season. They will be expanding and remodeling the Zions Bank Real Academy, expanding the training site to 12,260 square feet.
“The new and expanded training site emanates from the already existing Zions Bank Real Academy in Herriman, Utah, a 42-acre campus which includes five natural-grass outdoor fields, two full-size indoor fields, as well as the 5,000-seat capacity Zions Bank Stadium,” the team said in an announcement.
Head coach Amy Rodriguez noted that the “player’s holistic view was very carefully looked at and thought about every detail within this facility.” Among the additions will be spaces for childcare and for nursing mothers. There will also be a new locker room, new training equipment and a dedicated hydrotherapy room.
The training center first opened in 2018, and it has served as the training site for multiple clubs and leagues. The Royals will join MLS club Real Salt Lake at Zions Bank Real Academy, but they will have their own NWSL-specific space, unlike the previous iteration of the team.
“We never had a dedicated, I would even argue, an equal space,” said Rodriguez, who served as captain of the Royals during her NWSL career.
While Rodriguez appreciated her time with the previous version of the Utah club, which folded in 2020, she is thrilled to see the red-carpet treatment for the new Royals.
“I experienced the Royals in its first iteration, and I thought it was great originally, but this blows things out of the water,” Rodriguez said during a news conference Thursday. “I just feel so fortunate to be a part of this time where we are pushing boundaries. It’s setting standards for women in sport and women’s soccer in America.”