Real Salt Lake announced Friday that its new soccer-specific stadium will be built in the next two weeks as part of the first episode of "Extreme Makeover: Stadium Edition," a spin-off of the popular ABC show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." Starting on Wednesday, designers, contractors and hundreds of workers will descend on RSL Owner David W. Checketts' backyard to make RSL's dream of having a home of their own come true earlier than anybody anticipated. As is customary with "Extreme Makeover," construction will take just one week, and the stadium will be ready for RSL's home opener on April 16 against the Colorado Rapids.
"We're no fools," said RSL General Manager Steve Pastorino. "Ever since RSL was formed, we've been trying to put together plans to build a stadium, and today, April 1, 2005, we have been offered an amazing opportunity to have our own facility for our first ever home game. Not only that, but the whole process will be shown on national TV, so we're getting some great exposure. Actually, the entire staff is going out for haircuts on Tuesday, just to make sure we look our best."
Because the club had not yet completed stadium negotiations with either Salt Lake City or Murray, Utah, before their agreement with "Extreme Makeover" was reached, Mr. Checketts' backyard has been selected as the stadium site. In addition to serving as the home venue of the soccer club, the stadium will also be used for all future Checketts family reunions, barbecues, anniversary parties and wedding receptions.
"It's just like Mr. Checketts to step up and offer his backyard for our stadium site. Just like he did when he took the initiative and brought a team to Salt Lake City, he's bringing a world-class venue to the team," Pastorino said. "It's a shame that they have to rip out the pool, but there are certain sacrifices you have to make."
All RSL fans and members of the Salt Lake community are invited to take part in this historic event. Construction begins at 8 a.m. MT on Wednesday, April 6, and will last until 11 p.m. every day until Wednesday, April 13 (with the exception of Sunday, April 10). Due to the massive nature of the project, those taking part are asked to bring supplies with them. Screws, nails, hammers and ladders are the most needed supplies.
"We've warned all of the hardware stores in the area to make sure they won't run out of anything," Pastorino said. "And as an added incentive to volunteers, Mr. Checketts is opening his kitchen to everyone who lends a hand, so there will be free coffee, hot chocolate and juice. Maybe we can convince Mr. Checketts to bake some cookies, too. He makes a mean ginger snap."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.