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The Return of Beckham: Real Madrid to play in Utah every other year

Published September 1, 2006 10:54 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2006, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Posted: 11:01 AM- Real Salt Lake owner Dave Checketts announced Friday a 10-year agreement he reached with Real Madrid that calls for the soccer superstars to play a friendly match with RSL every other year.

That means international futbol star and heartthrob David Beckham will be back in Utah in July 2008 to perform - this time in a new soccer stadium in Sandy.

Beckham and the Madrid team played against RSL before a full house last month at the University of Utah's Rice-Eccles Stadium. Earlier in the day, Beckham helped Checketts turn dirt at a ceremonial groundbreaking in Sandy for RSL's planned stadium.

"He definitely will be playing when we open the stadium," Checketts said.

Checketts also announced that Real Madrid will help build an elite soccer academy in Salt Lake City that will train up to 200 soccer players ages 12-18. The academy also will include an academic school and, eventually, dorms. RSL will retain the rights to sign the players. Madrid will help with coaching and will recruit players to train there. The famed team also will cover half the estimated $25 million cost.

Every February, RSL players will head to Madrid to practice at that team's $150 million practice facility.

"It gives Real Salt Lake tremendous credibility," Checketts said of the agreement.

hmay@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">hmay@sltrib.com