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South Valley Journal

Herriman City Scores with Real Salt Lake Training Facility

May 05, 2016 03:44PM ● By Hope Zitting

By Hope Zitting

South Valley - When it comes to Herriman City and major league soccer, it’s a match made in heaven. 

“It’s a very historic day just outside here in the American First Pavilion,” the voice of Real Salt Lake, Billy Riley said, before making a crucial announcement.

On April 9, the Herriman City Council, Herriman Mayor Carmen Freeman, residents of Herriman and more gathered around the American First Pavilion inside Rio Tinto Stadium, located at 9256 West State Street in Sandy.

The entire pavilion went silent as the audience became informed as to why they were there.

In September 2017, Herriman City and Real Salt Lake will unveil the new Herriman Complex Training Facility and Academy. The 42-acre plot of land will consist of eight soccer fields and an educational Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) building. 

 The project will cost approximately 50 million dollars.

“Do you ever have a day that feels like Christmas in your life, like you’re a little kid? I was so nervous last night, I couldn’t sleep. I went back on the couch, just waiting for Christmas to come,” Dell Loy Hansen, owner of Real Salt Lake, said. 

“Today is a red letter day. So if you have five red letter days in RSL history, today’s one of them as we announce the formation of the Real Salt Lake Training Center. This will be like none other in the nation… We’ll have the most powerful community and youth training system in the United States. We will be akin to Barcelona, to the Netherlands, to a number of teams in England. We decided, instead of taking baby steps, let’s just take the big step and let’s get there. So that’s the vision that this organization has is, that a nine-year old today could be on the field for RSL in ten years,” Hansen said.

The training facility has been in the making for about six to eight months, and purposely kept quiet before publicly announcing.

“I’ve been waiting for this for quite a while,” Brett Wood, the City Manager of Herriman, said.

“The term ‘world-class’ is what defines this. We’re committed to building a facility here and continuing to build our curriculum and everything that surrounds what we’re doing in Herriman to become world-class,” Craig Waibel, the General Manager of Real Salt Lake, said.

With the median age of Herriman City being only 24 years of age, Real Salt Lake seems to have scored quite the goal. The youthful population is ideal for the soccer training facility and charter school.

The STEM building will enroll 250 students beginning in the fall of 2017. There are only 50 openings available for out-of-state students. 

“It’s like a charter school. They’ll get the education right there at the school and then they’ll actually play soccer. Someone who’s eight, nine, ten years old- I mean, they can just go to school and get their education and get really good at soccer and then play major league when they’re older. This is actually catching a lot of international attention, especially in the world of sports,” Craig Tischner, a Herriman City Councilmember, said.

Although the Herriman City officials and the faces of Real Salt Lake are looking forward to the building of the facility, various Herriman residents have voiced their hesitations concerning excessive development within the city and worry about the industrialization and noise it may bring.

“Everything just came together just really, really well. So, some things that people need to know is that this really is a shift- this really will stimulate Herriman’s economy. With the support of businesses and restaurants, you’re going to have people traveling to the facility. It’s right off Mountain View Corridor, approximately 14800 South, just adjacent from the Salt Lake Community College is where it’s going in. It’s really not going to affect a lot of neighborhoods… But that’s really going to help us with our economy with the restaurants, and a little bit of retail, office space, stuff like that. It’s really a good thing for Herriman,” Tischner said.

Herriman City Mayor Carmen Freeman especially pointed out the economic growth that the training facility may bring.

“Any city looks for some iconic landmark that will really identify their city and certainly this does. It will be a great job-creator, it will stimulate economic growth within our community. And then, I think, from the residential aspect of it, Dell Loy has made this so that we can have other groups within our community come and enjoy the facilities. So, yes, it will serve the purpose of Real, but it’s certainly going to serve us as a community,” Mayor Freeman said.

“It is a destination. When you go to a destination, would you want to go eat? When you go to a hotel, you want a restaurant right next to it. You don’t want to go two or three miles down the road to get to it. That’s what’s pretty exciting about this. I think it’s going to help us sustain our city. It’s going to be incredible for us. It’s going to be huge. We’re moving on up. It’s big for Herriman, but it really is big for the south-west quadrant of the valley, for Salt Lake Valley, and for the state of Utah. It’s going to have that wind-blown effect,” Tischner said. 

Herriman City and Real Salt Lake hope to begin construction on the training facility and academy within the next 30 to 45 days.