SANDY, Utah (Saturday, September 10, 2022) – Major League Soccer Real salt lake and first partner of the Club America First Credit Union – one of RSL’s oldest partners – announces that the Club’s Sandy site will henceforth be known as AMERICA FIRST CHAMPeffective immediately.
President of Real Salt Lake John Kimball and President and CEO of America First Thayne Shaffer were joined for today’s announcement by members of the Club’s loyal fanbase; local, regional and national sports figures and business dignitaries, including the Commissioner of Major League Soccer Don Garber; Holders of an RSL season ticket; and members of America’s First Credit Union.
“Since our inaugural game in 2005, America First Credit Union has supported Real Salt Lake’s connection to this community, providing our amazing fans with many in-stadium, local and digital initiatives,” said the Real Salt Lake President. John Kimball. “This partnership has grown tremendously over our 18 seasons, and today’s unveiling of AMERICA FIRST FIELD signage and naming takes the partnership to a whole new level. RSL and America First Credit Union share many principles , including ambitious vision, commitment and innovation for our collective community. The depth, breadth and duration of this naming rights agreement for AMERICA FIRST FIELD is exemplary of this partnership, and we look forward to deepening our common roots not only in the great state of Utah, but throughout Intermountain West.
Since opening the Sandy site on historic State Street in October 2008, Real Salt Lake has played 269 games, posting a record 154 wins and 66 draws to just 49 losses, a home winning percentage of nearly 70 % and an impressive 1.96 points per game. . Two finals were held at what is now AMERICA FIRST FIELD – the second leg of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League Final as well as the 2013 US Open Lamar Hunt Cup Final. Nearly 50 clubs and national teams from more than a dozen countries have competed at the AMERICA FIRST FIELD in numerous competitions, including Major League Soccer, National Women’s Soccer League, MLS All-Star Game, Olympic Qualifiers, Qualifiers for World Cup, Gold Cup, USL Championship, MLS NEXT Pro Invitational and more.
Ancillary events that have taken place in what is now AMERICA FIRST FIELD include the Utah High School Activities Association football competitions for boys and girls, American football, rugby, lacrosse, monster truck, motocross and more.
America First Credit Union will continue to welcome guests to the Real Salt Lake home with signage at East Side/State Street Plaza, via 9400 South, and at the “Spanish Steps” entry point, among others. Additionally, an America First/RSL co-branded debit card and credit card will provide cardholders with exclusive benefits including discounted tickets, concessions, merchandise and special access to events. Whether purchasing RSL match tickets, gear at the RSL Team Store, or favorite food and beverages during the match, the new card will be a fast and secure way to make payments to AMERICA. FIRST FIELD.
“We are thrilled to extend our relationship with Real Salt Lake and Major League Soccer by having our name on this elite sports and entertainment venue, and offering the exclusive credit card and debit card of the RSL brand,” said Thayne Shaffer, President and CEO of America First. “This partnership will bring value to our members and help us continue to invest in our community and in the organizations that support individuals, families and businesses in their efforts to achieve their personal and financial goals.”
As part of its commitment to its 1.2 million members and the communities it serves, America First partners with numerous nonprofit organizations and charitable foundations in Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.
America First Credit Union, which has been affiliated with Real Salt Lake since 2005, will benefit from an expanded relationship with the Club, including digital and traditional branding at AMERICA FIRST FIELD, activations during RSL games, affiliations with MLS NEXT Pro Real Monarchs at Herriman and other sporting events. The club’s ardent fanbase will continue to be known collectively as ‘The Riot’, providing the passionate heartbeat emanating from the South End with every game. The two organizations will also continue to work together on various community outreach initiatives throughout the state of Utah. Additionally, America First Credit Union will continue to be a presenting sponsor of various RSL and Real Monarchs digital properties and sponsor RSL youth camps and clinics. America First Credit Union will also partner with RSL for small business promotion and award a season-long marketing and advertising sponsorship opportunity to AMERICA FIRST FIELD.
ABOUT AMERICA’S FIRST CREDIT UNION
Proudly celebrating 83 years of member service and a long history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable and progressive credit unions in the nation. As Utah’s largest credit union, it has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 121 locations and is the seventh-largest credit union by assets in the United States with more than $17 billion, and the fifth-largest credit union by members in America with over 1.2 million members.
In the first week of January 2022, the RSL property collection was acquired by a global sports entrepreneur David Blitzer – which has interests in the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), New Jersey Devils (NHL) and six European football entities, including Crystal Palace (England), FC Augsburg (Germany), Estoril (Portugal), ADO Den Haag (Country -Bas), Alcorcón (Spain) and SK Beveren (Belgium). The Blitzer Group partners with Utah-based Smith Entertainment Group, led by Ryan Smithowner of the Utah Jazz (NBA).
Real Salt Lake kicked off its 18th Major League Soccer season this spring, its first full season under the head coach Pablo Mastroeniwho led the Utah team through the final 100 days last year, qualifying for the 2021 Audi MLS Cup playoffs for the 11th time in the past 14 years.
The club’s 2009 MLS Cup victory marked Utah State’s only major professional championship in nearly 40 years, the title preceding a historic run to the 2010/11 CONCACAF Champions League final. Backed by a passionate base of several thousand season ticket holders, RSL enjoyed a class-leading advantage on the pitch – posting a dominating record of 154-49-66 (Win-Loss-Draw) in all competitions at home (1.96 points per game for a 0.695 win percent.) — since building its permanent home at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy 13 years ago.
In 2015, the club expanded its development pyramid with the addition of Real Monarchs SLC, one of several MLS-operated clubs playing in the USL Championship, the United States Division II configuration. The Monarchs claim a pair of titles in its brief history, as the 2017 USL Regular Season Champions, later winning the USL Finals in 2019. For the 2022 season and beyond, the Real Monarchs will participate in the new “MLS NEXT Pro” as part of a joint United States and Canada initiative to complete the journey of professional players by linking MLS NEXT youth academies with Major League Soccer first teams.
The entire RSL development pipeline, which includes the RSL Academy U-15 and U-17 teams, calls the sprawling Zions Bank training center in Herriman, Utah their daily training ground. With five world-class grass pitches, two indoor grass pitches, a residential dormitory, the STEM-based RSL Academy High School and the 5,000-seat Zions Bank Stadium located on a 42-acre campus, the sporting future of the Utah is promising.
The RSL Community Foundation was established in 2016, established with the goal of being active in the community year-round, using the popularity and reach of RSL and the Real Monarchs to promote the health and well-being of children throughout the region, engaging football supporters to raise funds and volunteer time for various local initiatives.
For more information on Real Salt Lake, visit www.RSL.com.