CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – The talent pipeline headed through Grande Sports Academy continues to look bright, with Real Salt Lake U-12 winning the Desert Premier Division with a 2-0 win over Rio Rapids SC and qualifying for the 2015 US Youth Soccer Region IV Championships in Boise, Idaho.
With the final round of Desert Premier Division games taking place at Grande Sports World from April 10 – 12, RSL U-12 flew down to Casa Grande early to take full advantage of the complex and get to know their older Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy counterparts.
“It’s a really nice facility,” said goalkeeper Cooper Gibson. “Seeing [RSL-AZ U-15/16 and U-17/18] train is another way for us to get better.”
Most importantly, the trip to Grande Sports World provided an opportunity for the U-12s to come together as a team before the final, pivotal games of the Desert Premier Division season.
“It’s another chance to bond the team, you make them feel like they’re in the Academy,” said Real Salt Lake President and U-12 Head Coach Bill Manning. “It’s a great opportunity for them to meet Martin and have him see them play. Some of these kids could be here literally three or four years from now.”
With a trio of games against Sereno SC West, SC del Sol and Rio Rapids SC to close out the season, RSL would clinch first place with two wins. After beating Sereno 3-0 to open the weekend, the U-12s then drew 2-2 with SC del Sol to force a decisive final game against Rio Rapids.
Needing a win to take the title back home to Utah, RSL U-12 came through big in their final game with a 2-0 win against Rio Rapids SC to win the Desert Premier Division and claim their place in June’s US Youth Soccer Region IV Championships.
“One thing we always talk about is RSL family and everyone’s made us feel like family here,” said Manning. “Everyone at the Academy, Monarchs, Real and now these kids are part of that family for years to come.”