Real Salt Lake dismisses head coach Mike Petke

Joel Soria

Mike Petke is no longer in charge of Real Salt Lake, the team announced on Sunday.

Freddy Juarez, the team’s assistant coach, will take over as the interim head coach for the remaining ten games. Petke was set to return from a two-week suspension on Monday.

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The cub issued the following statement regarding the news:

“At Real Salt Lake, we have the privilege to represent our great community and fans here locally and on a national and global basis.  We hold all of our coaches, players, executives and staff to the highest standards of professionalism. As an organization, it is vital that everyone, particularly our leadership, reflects and embodies our core values and the values of our community, treating all people with respect, civility and professionalism. Moreover, throughout our 15-year history, we have championed diversity, acceptance and inclusion throughout our organization, our stadiums and our community.  This is a responsibility that we take very seriously.

“On Tuesday, July 30, after an investigation and in conjunction with Major League Soccer, the club levied the steepest sanctions ever imposed on an MLS coach when we suspended Mike Petke without pay for two weeks in addition to his three-match suspension in MLS and $25,000 fine. After further deliberations and a series of constructive discussions internally and with various members of our community, we have concluded, pursuant to his employment agreement, to immediately terminate Mike Petke’s employment.”

The decision to terminate Petke’s contract comes weeks after the 43-year-old’s altercation with referees following RSL’s 1-0 loss to Club America on July 24 in the Leagues Cup, which initially earned him a red card. Shortly after, MLS opened an investigation on the incident. According to multiple reports, Petke was ultimately suspended for shouting homophobic slurs at the officials.

Hired in 2017, Petke went 39-36-16 across all league competition. In 2018, RSL qualified for the playoffs, losing to Sporting Kansas City in the Western Conference quarterfinals.

Sixth in the Western Conference with 37 points, RSL has yet to lose under Juarez, drawing once and winning its last two.

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