Mike Petke is the new coach of Real Salt Lake (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
Mike Petke was named head coach of Real Salt Lake Wednesday afternoon at a press conference at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.
The former Red Bulls head coach replaced Jeff Cassar, who was fired last week. RSL (0-2-2, 2 points sits in ninth place in the MLS Western Conference.
While Petke will accompany RSL to Saturday’s contest at expansion side Minnesota United FC, his official RSL head coaching debut will occur next Saturday, April 8 at Rio Tinto Stadium against Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Interim head coach Daryl Shore continues to handle this week’s preparations as well as game management at Minnesota.
“Mike’s leadership capabilities, his track record, work ethic and fiery personality are anticipated to confidently lead Real Salt Lake into a new era,” RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen said in a statement. “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.”
The 41-year-old Petke was the head coach of Real Monarchs, who play in the United Soccer League. He had been hired in December.
“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,” Petke said. “There is so much excitement and momentum surrounding our club, starting with the infrastructure and direction provided by [general mananger] Craig Waibel and [vice president , 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.”
Petke served as the Red Bulls head coach for the 2013-14 seasons. He directed the clun to a franchise-best two-year run in club history, amassing a 30-19-19 mark while giving the club its first-ever trophy, the 2013 MLS Supporters Shield. In 2014, the Red Bulls finished one goal shy of MLS Cup, dropping its Eastern Conference finals series to the New England Revolution.