New Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen and former owner/founder Dave Checketts
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Southern California town reverses course on plan to develop academy complex with Real Salt Lake

The City Council of Oceanside, Calif., has reversed course on plans to partner with Real Salt Lake on a $10 million-plus project to build a youth academy and stadium for a future USL PRO affiliate club on the site of a failing public golf course, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported on Thursday.

Oceanside, a far northern suburb of San Diego, is losing money on the City Center Golf Course, widely known as Goat Hill, and has sought alternate uses for the 76-acre site.

“We can’t keep losing money on a golf course that isn’t viable,” Mayor Jim Wood said last week.

But residents appeared at a Wednesday night council meeting to express opposition to the RSL plan and express their desire to pursue an alternate path, prompting city leaders to end discussions with the club.

“I’ve come to the conclusion I think this is a very right idea, but it’s the wrong place,” said Councilman Jack Feller.

RSL had proposed a three-year plan to lease the land and build what club owner Dell Loy Hansen (pictured above, at left) called a “soccer mecca” comprising six training fields and academy to develop local talent. A later phase would also include an 8,000-capacity stadium, walking trail and two hotels alongside a renovated golf course which would eventually become a nine-hole “irons” setup.

“I want to bring something that will be progressive and good for the community,” said Hansen, who lives part-time in Oceanside and attended Wednesday's council meeting.

Councilman Jerry Kern had called RSL's interest a “game changer” but the club's leaders, who had also scouted other sites in the area, will now have to return to the drawing board.