Real Salt Lake to launch NWSL franchise in 2018

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Chris Nicoll
A new franchise will play at Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah, with FC Kansas City set to cease operations

Real Salt Lake will field a team in the NWSL for the 2018 season, the women's league announced Thursday.

Although the NWSL is labeling the franchise as a "newly launched club," the team is set to take the place of FC Kansas City in the league's 10-team setup. The Kansas City Star reported Wednesday that FCKC is ceasing operations, and coach Vlatko Andonovski has already departed the club to take the same post with the Seattle Reign.

RSL's new franchise will play its home games at the MLS side's venue, Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.

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The official team name, the coaching staff and the process through which the roster is formed are set to be confirmed in the "coming days and weeks," with RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen revealing he was only approached with the opportunity 15 days before Thursday's announcement.

"During our discussions in this process, Real Salt Lake has demonstrated their unquestionable desire and commitment to bring the highest level of professional women's soccer to all fans of the game in Salt Lake City and Utah," NWSL managing director of operations Amanda Duffy said in a news release. "Real Salt Lake will immediately be able to hit the ground running on the business side as well as provide the players with a top-notch training ground and one of the best game venues in the country."

The NWSL's fifth season concluded last month, with the Portland Thorns topping the NC Courage in the league title game.

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