On Thursday Real Salt Lake broke ground on its new training field in Sandy, America First FIeld. Linda Carver, a chair person for America First, gave a five minute speech about her passion for soccer and specifically RSL. It was an amazing talk that caught everyone off guard, and one RSL coach Jason Kreis personally thanked her for afterward.
Here is a transcript of her speech. If you’re a Real Salt Lake fan, you’ll likely appreciate it, especially the part about where she talks about her family blessing Javier Morales’ ankle at dinner.
“I might look your normal chairwomen of the board, and you’re probably sitting in your seats right now thinking you’re going to hear the traditional thank you speech. But I’m here to tell you that I’m an original soccer mama. Long before Real became Utah’s premier sports team I travelled the world tracking down soccer games. I can tell you I met Pele in Minnesota at the USA Cup, I almost got arrested for trying to touch the World Cup trophy on tour, I was in a bus that almost got turned over after a victory in Italy, and I’ve never been fooled by David Beckham’s looks.
I want the team to know this, we are here to break ground for this practice site. But I want to take a moment and just tell you how much this means to so many of us. This is about Real Salt Lake and what you have brought to our lives, especially mine. Real has transformed my life as a person, especially as a grandmother in the eyes of my grandchildren. It has elevated me from the average to the “way” cool.
A few years ago my grand children would sit in awe watching Zinedine Zidane score volleys, and they were enamored by Robert Carlos’ amazing free kicks that somehow bent into the net. And Maradona’s run from midfield around most of the English team for a goal. Their closets were lined with colorful jerseys from Manchester United, Barcelona, Arsenal, Chelsea, but Real Salt Lake has changed all of those events.
Today my oldest grandson is trying to grow his hair out to look like Kyle Beckerman, he strongly believes this will improve his game and his arrow dynamics. Last night at the dinner table, instead of blessing the food they blessed Javier Morales, amen has never been said more loudly.
When my grandson broke his leg this winter he asked the doctor if he could get the color of his cast to match his Real shirt. Weeks later he proudly showed off his cast to all of his friends. Real players had kindly signed it. The broken leg was now OK, he could start to heal. He now had some magical signatures. When he went to get it recast he asked if he could have it the color of (Andy) Williams’ shoes. Thanks to those players who took the time to do so to make him feel like he had super powers. You might’ve thought it was just your signatures, but to a boy who became wheel-chair bound it became a life line.
Their closets are no longer filled with jerseys from distant European teams, the colorful mixture is now replaced with Claret and Cobalt. The names are Jason Kreis, Rimando, Borchers, Saborio, Paulo Jr., Espindola, Grabavoy, Beltran, Alvarez, Russell, Williams, Wingert, Olave, Morales, Johnson, and the list goes on and on. These names are all common denominators in our daily conversation.
Recently a note was sent home from their school informing one of my grandsons of the upcoming school pictures. He was advised to wear his best cloths. Well I proudly tell you today that it’s easy to spot my son in the group picture, he’s the only one without a tie or a collared shirt, smiling as if he had just won the winning goal.
Last winter I risked my life in a blizzard and drove in one of the year’s largest snow storms to purchase Real Salt Lake jerseys for my grandchildren for Christmas, that was the only thing they wanted. I drove past several stores that would’ve had jerseys for other teams, but that would’ve been an insult. Only Real makes the grade for our family. Some people might say we’re fanatical, I think we are intelligent. I think we live a higher law and we chant in connotations. I not only speak for myself, but also Rick Craig the CEO and president of America First Credit Union, he’s just as enthusiastic about Real as I am. He purchases at least 12 season tickets a year and sometimes many more. Plus he has over 30 grandchildren that share the same passion.
When in fact the two of us should be entertaining heavy-duty discussions about the financial world, we hold secret meetings to discuss the true meaning of what really is a legitimate offsides call.
So in conclusion I say sincere thank you to so many of you. Congratulations to the owners, players, coaches, trainers, and all those individuals that have been so instrumental in making Real Salt Lake champions in so many areas. A heartfelt thank you to you the founder, Mr. Checketts, thank you for your vision, and also Mr. Hansen for your support and ownership. We representing America First Credit Union take great pride in our partnership with Real Salt Lake. We have been here since the beginning and we will be here in the future for you. Thanks for elevating the status of mine with eight very special children, five which are here today.”