Real Salt Lake announced on Wednesday the appointment of Mike Petke as the club's fourth permanent head coach.
“First and foremost, I want to express my gratitude to Mr. Hansen for his belief in my abilities,” said Petke in a club statement. “My family has been excited about our return to the Rocky Mountains since Christmas; we have always been amazed by the fantastic culture for soccer here in Utah, and I am honored to be charged with delivering pride and excellence to the passionate RSL fan base.”
Petke, 41, makes a quick transition to RSL after being hired as the head coach of the club's USL team, Real Monarchs, in the offseason and leading the team to a win last weekend in their season opener. Prior to that, Petke was head coach of the Red Bulls in 2013-14, where he helped the team win their first ever major silverware, the 2013 Supporters' Shield. The New York native was controversially fired by the Red Bulls after the 2014 season despite the Supporters' Shield and two consecutive MLS Cup Playoff appearances.
“Mike’s leadership capabilities, his track record, work ethic and fiery personality are anticipated to confidently lead Real Salt Lake into a new era,” RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen. “Mike quickly integrated himself into our club, and has embraced both the pressure of our short-term expectations and all the tenets and principles guiding our long-term intentions.”
As a player, Petke featured for three MLS teams: the MetroStars/Red Bulls, D.C. United, and Colorado Rapids, from 1998-2010. He was an MLS All-Star selection three straight years, from 2000 to 2002.
Real Salt Lake have started the season with an 0-2-2 start, and currently sit in 9th place in the Western Conference, having scored just one goal in four games. Petke will get his first chance at leading RSL in a competitive match when the team travels to face Minnesota United FC on Saturday (8 pm ET | MLS LIVE).