Mike Petke - surprise
USA Today Sports

Mike Petke appointed head coach of Real Salt Lake's USL team

Former New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke is back in the pro coaching game.

Brian Dunseth broke the news on Thursday that Petke has been appointed head coach of Real Salt Lake's USL team, Real Monarchs. Petke replaces Freddy Juarez, the team's original head coach who was recently named assistant coach for RSL's first team.

"I've had a couple of opportunities since I left my last position, and it was just something that didn't feel right," Petke told Sirius XM radio's Counter Attack program on Thursday. "I'm not the type of person who just jumps in to something to have a job.

"I need a criteria for what an opportunity can bring me ... It really checked every box for me. Timing is everything, but more importantly, it's the right fit and the right opportunity."

Petke returns to the pro game after being dismissed from the Red Bulls following the 2014 season. He led New York to their first ever major trophy, the 2013 Supporters' Shield, and was beloved by Red Bulls fans both for his contributions to the club as a player and coach.

Real Monarchs will play their third season in USL in 2017. Numerous RSL players have been loaned down to Real Monarchs, and a few players, including Ricardo Velazco, have used the USL team as a springboard to earn an MLS contract with the first team.

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