The RSL Family permeates throughout the whole organization: from the front office, to the players, to the fans and even all the way down to the RSL academy. If you want to see a great example go to twitter and do a hash tag search for either #RSLfam or #RSLfamily. You will find tweets from many fans, of course, but you will also find many players, academy players, and even the main RSL twitter feed using the hash tags.
I think Jason Kreis said it best in a quote found in the Liviu Bird article. "We've done everything we can to make this club more than just a soccer club. We believe that it's a family. That starts in the locker room, but it proceeds out into the management, it proceeds out to the people that work in our club, it proceeds out even further than that, to all our fans. We truly think that they're all part of our family."
As I continued to think about it, I decided that I would write a post about the RSL Family. Not that I have a lot of experience with other teams around the league, but my thinking was that we have something very different here with the family feel of the team. I thought it would be interesting to get the perspective of a wide range of people from all aspects of the team. I began going to various people and asked them "What does the RSL family mean to you?"
When I started to get responses back I was pretty blown away. Many of the responses were very emotional and heart felt. And at that point, the scope of my blog post changed. One post was not going to do justice to this topic. So instead of just one post, this is the first of an ongoing series that I will be writing on the topic of the RSL Family and what it means to people.
One of the perspectives that I wanted to get was that of a former player. I contacted former RSL defender Ian Joy to see if he would be willing to tell me his thoughts on the RSL Family. He graciously wrote me back his thoughts. Instead of just pulling out some quotes from his email, I felt I would just include his whole response.
The RSL family is something very special.I would like to thank Ian for sharing this with me. I think the last paragraph of his message is the true essence of what the RSL family is and why it is so important to all of us.
I believe a lot of clubs around the league strive to be like Real Salt Lake simply because of the way they act.
When The gaffer (Jason) took over as boss he made changes within the club immediately & the most important change he made was within the locker room mentality. He wanted to have a team of winners but that was never going to be easy to get.
Garth is key to RSL's success he is the man who travels the world, meeting players & club officials & he is the one who pulls the deals together. Jason gives his stamp if approval to every single deal.
Before you get to sign for Real Salt Lake Jason will go into great detail to find out exactly what kind of person you are off the field. This is Vital to RSL's success. You can be the best player in the team but if your personalty or character doesn't fit in with the Locker room the "Team" fails. It's that simple it only takes 1 bad apple to upset the compete atmosphere within the squad, Making it much harder to succeed.
Jason has an incredible talent of assembling a squad of players that will look each other in the eye everyday knowing that each player will do anything possible to win for the person next to them. Every single training session became like a war zone because we all wanted to win.
I'd never seen a squad full of players who got on so well with each other off the field than at RSL. It was/is something very special for everyone involved. Then throw in 2/3 coaches who live & breath the game and you have a recipe for success.
Real Salt lake is blessed to have an incredible backroom of staff that mix with the team every day and they are very important part of the family but the most important part of the family is the fans! The fans are the ones who push & motivate the team to be successful, the fans are the ones who push the team to that next level. The stadium was a big part of bringing us all together and allowing us a platform to showcase our talents & I don't just mean the players on the field! I mean the fans too. The RIOT has become a fortress of noise & passion and I feel very fortunate that I managed to play in front of you incredible fans.
I can only speak for my own personally experiences at RSL and its a time I will never forget. I wasn't going through the best time of my life off the field but the way that the Team, Jason, staff & fans treated me has made me a better person today. For that I will forever hold RSL close to my heart.