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Chris Kamrani
Chris Kamrani covers Real Salt Lake for the Tribune.

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Players excited to have new RSL practice home in Sandy

Coaches and players christened their new practice facility on Tuesday — at long last, just minutes from Rio Tinto Stadium.

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"It's great," goalkeeper Nick Rimando said. "It's definitely convenient, and makes Sandy feel more like our home, for sure."

The new American First Credit Union field sits just west of State Street at 10000 South in Sandy, much closer to the stadium and its facilities than Xango Field, adjacent to the Xango headquarters in Lehi where the team used to practice.

"Probably everything flows from that," coach Jason Kreis said. "We're in a great place for everybody."

That's because not only is the new field closer to the stadium, but it's in far better shape.

While Xango Field was certainly adequate — players were careful to praise Xango for the contribution, considering the company remains its jersey sponsor — it was also crowned in the middle and far from game-quality. The team invested nearly $1 million in re-creating its stadium field on the practice grounds, right down to a heating system underneath the grass.

It has a five-year lease from the City of Sandy, team officials said, which defender Chris Wingert said was "another step in the right direction for the organization." Practices are generally open to the public.

"It's been great," captain Kyle Beckerman said. "It's so nice."

Beckerman said the Xango field, for all its flaws "helped us win a championship, so a lot of credit goes" to Xango. But now, "we're happy to be here … trying to do the hard work here to get another championship."

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