Real Salt Lake part ways with general manager Craig Waibel

Craig Waibel

Real Salt Lake and general manager Craig Waibel have parted ways, the club announced Friday night.

The remainder of Waibel’s contract was terminated and the club will begin the search for his permanent replacement immediately.

“I appreciate Craig coming to Real Salt Lake for the 2014 season as part of the coaching staff. Craig oversaw the organization’s integration of the Real Monarchs, Utah Royals FC in the National Women’s Soccer League, and the relocation and expansion of the Real Salt Lake Academy, which now trains and plays at the Zions Bank Training Center in Herriman, Utah,” Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen said in a statement. “Craig has been instrumental in the club’s rapid growth and I wish him success in the future.”

Waibel’s departure comes a little more than a month after the club terminated the contract of head coach Mike Petke following his actions directed toward the officials after RSL were defeated in Leagues Cup against Tigres UANL.

Waibel was promoted to technical director in Dec. 2014 and then general manager in Aug. 2015. Under his guidance, RSL reached the postseason in two of his three full seasons as GM and is in position to earn a n Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoff berth in 2019.

He also helped cultivate RSL’s commitment to developing first team players through the academy. Homegrown players accounted for 10,826 minutes in the 2018 MLS regular season, with that number increasing to 11,304 thus far in 2019, setting the standard in Major League Soccer.

“I would like to thank Dell Loy Hansen for the opportunities presented to me over the past six years. During this time, I have experienced an incredible amount of personal and professional growth and I am proud of the work we have accomplished,” Waibel said in a statement. “While I am stepping away to take some time to evaluate the next step in my career, I want to wish Dell Loy, the locker room, and most importantly, the fans nothing but the best in their pursuit of the 2019 MLS Cup.”

In the interim, RSL assistant general manager Elliot Fall will assume Waibel’s responsibilities while reporting to executive vice president of soccer operations Rob Zarkos. Fall has worked his way up through the organization since joining in 2007, including serving as director of soccer operations in 2013-14 and moving on to assistant general manager in Nov. 2014.

The news comes ahead of Real Salt Lake’s match against the Houston Dynamo Sunday (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, on DAZN in Canada). RSL are fifth in the Western Conference with 47 points, but just three points above the playoff line.