Is Salt Lake a soccer hotbed?

            Count former Real Salt Lake player Brian Dunseth, now a TV and radio color commentator, among those who believes Salt Lake is verging on becoming a major soccer town.

            Dunseth illustrated that in an interview last week by saying he loves living here. His grandparents were LDS and had visited Salt Lake several times before Dunseth ever played in Utah.

Deseret News Photo by Tom Smart

Deseret News Photo by Tom Smart

            “I knew about the culture, and I had this weird feeling…I always said if I got that call (to play in Salt Lake) I’m going to come there,” he said.

            Dunseth, who had been playing in Sweden when RSL called in 2005, said he got two other offers to play in Sweden, but wanted to play in Salt Lake.

            “I remember being part of that first game and there was a weird vibe, a weird buzz around the city. It was something I couldn’t explain but I could feel the energy. To be part of something so special was just kind of a surreal moment.”

            He went on to say when Dave Checketts got Real Madrid to attend a shovel ceremony at the site of Rio Tinto Stadium it was “like taking the Yankees to Timbuktu.”

            Dunseth added that Salt Lake has come far in educating itself on soccer, thus a sold-out stadium on opening day.

            “I can’t begin to tell you how important something like that is to potentially create an environment comparable to Portland, Seattle and Kansas City. Those three places, in my mind, are what these fans have to try to replicate. (Saturday) was a huge, huge step.”

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