Utah Blitzz

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Utah Blitzz
Full name Utah Blitzz Football Club
Nickname(s) The Blitzz
Founded 2000
Dissolved 2004
Stadium Rice-Eccles Stadium
Salt Lake City, Utah
Ground Capacity 45,634
Owner United States Jon Garff
Head Coach United States Chris Agnello
League USL Pro Select League
2004 1st, Western Conference
Playoffs: Champions

Utah Blitzz was an American professional soccer team in based in Salt Lake City, Utah that played in the USL Pro Select League (later known as the USL Second Division). The club was founded in 2000 but folded following the 2004 season to make way for the Major League Soccer franchise, Real Salt Lake, to begin play in 2005. During its short existence the club was very successful, winning two league titles and finishing first or second in the Western Conference every season. The club played its home games at Rice-Eccles Stadium on the campus of the University of Utah.

History[edit]

The Utah Blitzz Football Club was founded in 2000, joining the third division of professional soccer in the United States, playing in the USL Pro Select League (also known as the USL D3 Pro League and later as the USL Second Division). The team would play its home games out of Rice-Eccles Stadium on the campus of the University of Utah, but had plans to build its own soccer specific stadium.[1] The club began its first season with Chris Agnello as head coach and Stacy McNicol as Director of Operations, both of whom would later become co-owners. Prior to the 2004 season, majority ownership was sold to the Ken Garff family, with Bob Garff as chairman Ken Garff Automotive Group based in Utah and his son, Jon Garff, overseeing ownership of the team.

Agnello would lead the Blitzz to a USL Pro Select League title in only its second season, with consecutive first place finishes in the Western Conference from 2001-2004 and ending the club's final season with a second League championship in 2004.

On July 12, 2004, the country's first division pro league, Major League Soccer, announced that an expansion franchise had been awarded to Salt Lake City, with the new team to begin play in 2005. Following the championship victory in the 2004 season, the Blitzz ownership decided it would be best to step aside and not compete for attention or fans with the new MLS club. However, due to the success of the Blitzz, many staff and players would find a role in the Real Salt Lake (RSL) organization, including Agnello, who would go on to serve as a first team assistant coach for RSL.[2]

Year-by-year[edit]

Year Division League Reg. Season Playoffs Open Cup
2000 3 USL D-3 Pro League 2nd, Western Conference Finals Did not qualify
2001 3 USL D-3 Pro League 1st, Western Champion 2nd Round
2002 3 USL D-3 Pro League 1st, Western Semifinals 2nd Round
2003 3 USL Pro Select League 1st, Western Semifinals 2nd Round
2004 3 USL Pro Soccer League 1st, Western Champion 3rd Round

Honors[edit]

Players & staff[edit]

Head coaches[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Utah Blitzz - New Soccer Team". KSL.com, KSL Television/Utah News. 2000-05-19. Retrieved 2013-05-26. 
  2. ^ "Utah Blitzz: Club helped pave way for success of new MLS franchise". DesertNews.com. 2005-08-02. Retrieved 2013-05-26.