America First Field is the new name for Real Salt Lake’s home
Sandy, UT (September 10, 2022) — Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake and inaugural Club partner America First Credit Union – one of RSL’s longest-serving partners – announce that the Club’s Sandy venue will now be known as AMERICA FIRST FIELD, effective immediately.
Real Salt Lake President John Kimball and America First President and CEO Thayne Shaffer were joined for today’s announcement by members of the Club’s loyal fan base; local, regional and national sports figures and business dignitaries, including Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber; RSL Season Ticket holders; and America First Credit Union members.
“Since our inaugural game back in 2005, America First Credit Union has supported Real Salt Lake’s connection with this community, offering our amazing fans numerous in-stadium, grassroots and digital initiatives,” said Real Salt Lake President John Kimball. “This partnership has grown immensely over our 18 seasons, and today’s unveiling of the AMERICA FIRST FIELD signage and nomenclature propels the partnership to an entirely new level. Both RSL and America First Credit Union share many tenets, including an ambitious vision of, commitment to, and innovation for our collective community. The depth, breadth and term of this naming rights deal for AMERICA FIRST FIELD is exemplary of that partnership, and we look forward to further deepening our jointly held roots across not only the great state of Utah but throughout the Intermountain West.”
Since opening the Sandy venue on historic State Street in October 2008, Real Salt Lake has played 269 games, posting a record of 154 wins and 66 draws against just 49 losses, a home winning percentage of nearly 70% and an impressive 1.96 points per game. Two finals have been held at what is now AMERICA FIRST FIELD — the second leg of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League Final as well as the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final. Nearly 50 clubs and national teams from more than a dozen countries have competed on the AMERICA FIRST FIELD pitch across numerous competitions, including Major League Soccer, National Women’s Soccer League, the MLS All-Star Game, Olympic qualifying, World Cup qualifying, Gold Cup, USL Championship, MLS NEXT Pro invitational and more.
Ancillary events that have taken place at what is now AMERICA FIRST FIELD include Utah High School Activities Association soccer competitions for both boys and girls, American football, rugby, lacrosse, monster truck, motocross and more.
America First Credit Union will continue to welcome guests into the home of Real Salt Lake with signage on the East Side / State Street Plaza, via 9400 South and at the “Spanish Steps” entry point, among others. Additionally, a co-branded America First / RSL debit card and credit card will provide cardholders with exclusive benefits, including discounted tickets, concessions, merchandise and special access to events. Whether buying RSL game tickets, gear at the RSL Team Store, or favorite game-time food and beverages, the new card will be a fast and secure way to make payments at AMERICA FIRST FIELD.
“We’re elated to expand our relationship with Real Salt Lake and Major League Soccer by having our name on this elite sports and entertainment venue, and by offering the exclusive RSL-branded credit card and debit card,” said Thayne Shaffer, America First President and CEO. “This partnership will provide value to our members and help us continue to invest in our community and in organizations that support individuals, families, and businesses as they work toward 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 non-profit organizations and charitable foundations throughout Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.
America First Credit Union, which has been affiliated with Real Salt Lake since 2005, will enjoy an expanded relationship with the Club, including digital and traditional branding at AMERICA FIRST FIELD, activations during RSL games, affiliations with the MLS NEXT Pro Real Monarchs in Herriman and other sporting events. The club’s ardent fan base will continue to be known collectively as “The Riot,” providing the passionate heartbeat emanating from the South End each 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 to sponsor the RSL youth camps & clinics. America First Credit Union will also team up with RSL on a promotion with small businesses and award a single-season marketing and advertising sponsorship opportunity at the AMERICA FIRST FIELD.
About America First Credit Union
Proudly celebrating 83 years of servicing members and a long-standing history, America First Credit Union has become one of the largest, most stable, and most progressive credit unions in the country. 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 in assets in the United States with over $17 billion, and the fifth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1.2 million members.
About Real Salt Lake
During the first week of January 2022, the RSL compendium of properties was acquired by global sports entrepreneur David Blitzer – who boasts interests in the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), the New Jersey Devils (NHL), and six European soccer entities, including Crystal Palace (England), FC Augsburg (Germany), Estoril (Portugal), ADO Den Haag (Netherlands), Alcorcón (Spain) and SK Beveren (Belgium). The Blitzer group partners with Utah-based Smith Entertainment Group, led by Ryan Smith, which owns the Utah Jazz (NBA).
Real Salt Lake kicked off its 18th Major League Soccer season this Spring, its first full season under Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni, who led the Utah side for the final 100 days last year, advancing to the 2021 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for the 11th time in the last 14 years.
The club’s MLS Cup 2009 victory marked the state of Utah’s only major professional championship in nearly 40 years, the title preceding an historic run to the 2010/11 CONCACAF Champions League Final. Buoyed by a passionate base boasting several thousand season ticket holders, RSL has enjoyed a prominent home-field advantage – posting a dominant 154-49-66 (Win-Loss-Draw) record across all competitions at home (1.96 points per game for a 0.695 win pct.) – since building its permanent Rio Tinto Stadium home 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 setup. The Monarchs boast a pair of titles in its brief history, as the 2017 USL regular-season champions, later winning the USL Final in 2019. For the 2022 season and beyond, Real Monarchs will compete in the newly launched “MLS NEXT Pro” as part of a joint United States and Canada endeavor to complete the professional player pathway by connecting youth academies in MLS NEXT to first teams in Major League Soccer.
The entire RSL development pipeline, which includes the RSL Academy’s U-15 and U-17 teams, calls the expansive Zions Bank Training Center in Herriman, Utah their daily training home. With five world-class grass fields, two indoor turf fields, a residential dormitory, the STEM-based RSL Academy High School and the 5,000-seat Zions Bank Stadium located on a 42-acre campus, Utah’s sporting future is bright.
The RSL Community Foundation was established in 2016, created with the goals of being active in the community year-round, utilizing the popularity and reach of RSL and the Real Monarchs in promoting health and wellness in children throughout the region, engaging supporters of soccer to raise funds and volunteer time for various local initiatives.