News broke Thursday that Real Salt Lake will be entering a team in the 2018 NWSL season, with a lot of questions asked but yet unanswered about the new team, which at this point is unnamed and without a coach to guide roster construction.
RSL General Manager Craig Waibel indicated that despite the club having only seriously started considering this move at the start of November, they had already identified their top coaching target, and according to Waibel, “The coach that we want is willing to listen.”
RSL aim to be highly successful from launch, and they have the resources and cachet to bring in a big name coach, but who would be available on short notice that would fit their objectives?
Although the club didn’t give any further details at Thursday’s press conference, we now know that they were talking about none other than recently departed Seattle Reign FC coach Laura Harvey. Richard Farley at FourFourTwo received confirmation from multiple sources that she is RSL’s preferred target, and with her reported upcoming role at US Soccer being informal in the short-term and as-yet unannounced, she is still free to pursue other opportunities.
This would be a huge first move for the new team, and lead to Seattle and Salt Lake essentially swapping coaches. There are still details to be worked out regarding the fate of new Reign FC coach Vlatko Andonovski’s old team, FC Kansas City, but all indications are that the Blues will be folded, with the squad moved wholesale to the new team in Utah, as soon as final details of a league buyout are settled with the current FCKC ownership group.
Andonovski has expressed interest in acquiring some of his former Blues players for the Reign FC, and Harvey would undoubtedly desire some Seattle players to join her in Utah, so this could make for an interesting first meeting between the two sides next season.