Real Salt Lakes new head coach has both Major League Soccer experience and some local connection.
The team announced on Wednesday afternoon that it has hired Mike Petke to replace Jeff Cassar, who was fired nine days ago. Petke is in his first season as head coach of the Real Monarchs, RSLs United Soccer League affiliate in Salt Lake City. He was head coach of the New York Red Bulls from 2013-2015 before getting fired in a move that was unpopular among fans.
The 41-year-old Petke went 34-25-23 during his time as the Red Bulls leader. He coached just one match for the Monarchs, a 2-1 win over the Portland Timbers affiliate last Saturday.
Prior to his coaching career, Petke played 13 years as a defender in MLS for the New York/New Jersey MetroStars (now the Red Bulls), D.C. United and Colorado Rapids. He was a three-time MLS All-Star and also has two career caps with the U.S. National Team.
Petke inherits an RSL club that barely made the playoffs in 2016 and has struggled in the early stages of 2017. The team is 0-2-2 and has scored just one goal as it works to incorporate a number of new faces.