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MLS: Real Salt Lake hires Mike Petke as head coach

Real Salt Lake has found their replacement for Jeff Cassar.

The club announced on Wednesday that Mike Petke will lead Real Salt Lake as their new manager. Petke, 41, is the fourth head coach that Real Salt Lake has ever had.

Petke was hired by the club in 2017 as the head coach for the Real Monarchs, Real Salt Lake’s USL club team. Before his time on the western side of the country, Petke started his coaching on the east coast. He was hired in 2011 as an assistant coach for the New York Red Bulls. He then became the head coach of the club in 2013. He remained in the head coaching role for two seasons, until he was replaced by Jesse Marsch in 2014.

“First and foremost, I want to express my gratitude to Mr. Hansen for his belief in my abilities,” said Petke. “My family has been excited about our return to the Rocky Mountains since Christmas; we have always been amazed by the fantastic culture for soccer here in Utah, and I am honored to be charged with delivering pride and excellence to the passionate RSL fan base.”

“I arrived in December thinking this was the right fit and the right opportunity; the vision and blueprint provided by Mr. Hansen permeates from the first team to the Monarchs and through to our academy and our facilities that open this Fall,” continued Petke. “There is so much excitement and momentum surrounding our club, starting with the infrastructure and direction provided by (GM) Craig Waibel and (VP, Soccer Administration) Rob Zarkos, through to both the veteran talent and young potential in our locker room. The expertise and commitment from our technical staff, the relevance created by our business side and the passion displayed by our fans provides an outstanding foundation which makes me proud to accept this responsibility and lead RSL to new heights.”

“Mike’s leadership capabilities, his track record, work ethic and fiery personality are anticipated to confidently lead Real Salt Lake into a new era,” said owner Dell Loy Hansen. “Mike quickly integrated himself into our club, and has embraced both the pressure of our short-term expectations and all the tenets and principles guiding our long-term intentions.”

“Mike won a Supporters Shield, he’s managed high-profile players, he enjoyed a great playing career,” said Waibel. “There’s almost nothing he hasn’t seen in the sport in this country, and integrating someone with his experience, intelligence and teaching ability into our organization will pay dividends up and down our pyramid, from the academy teams to the Monarchs to the first team.”

Real Salt Lake was led by Daryl Shore, the goalkeeping coach, when Cassar was relieved of his duties. Shore led Real Salt Lake to a 0-0 draw against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday. Waibel was sure to acknowledge Shore’s leadership during the announcement of Petke as head coach.

“It is important at this time to recognize the steadying hand of valued coach Daryl Shore,” said Waibel, who said that Shore will be the head coach on Sunday’s match against Minnesota United FC to secure a smooth transition. “The club appreciates the collaborative spirit and selfless stewardship and guidance he has provided our locker room during this time of transition, effectively defusing a potentially volatile time and keeping the first team focused.”

Real Salt Lake currently holds a record of 0-2-2.


Photo of Mike Petke courtesy of Mike Stobe/Getty Images.

Follow me on Twitter, @TheeMcKriger, for all MLS coverage.

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Rachael McKriger
Sports Journalist

Rachael McKriger writes for RSEN Report (Lead Editor), Pittsburgh Sports Castle (Content Editor), Mon Goals and W2M Network, in addition to being a sports stringer/reporter for the Mon Valley Independent newspaper.

A senior of California Univ. of Pennsylvania, you can follow her on Twitter, @RachaelMcKriger, where you can find all of her articles. Search “McKriger Photography” on Facebook, to see her photos.

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