Sandy, Utah — Mike Petke’s time in Utah is officially over.
The third-year head coach for Real Salt Lake has been fired. His firing was announced yesterday afternoon. Petke is currently serving a suspension, due to yelling profanities and a homophobic slur at a referee during the 2019 Leagues Cup.
Real Salt Lake has announced that a head coaching search will begin immediately. However, for the time being, Freddy Juarez will serve as the interim head coach. Juarez was Petke’s assistant coach.
Petke first arrived in Utah as the head coach of the Real Monarchs. The club competes in the USL Championship, and is the USL affiliate of RSL. Meanwhile, on March 29, 2017, he became the head coach of RSL. Petke replaced former head coach Jeff Cassar.
Real Salt Lake released the following statement on Monday.
“At Real Salt Lake, we have the privilege to represent our great community and fans here locally and on a national and global basis,” the club wrote, with no author listed. “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.”
Meanwhile, the club went on to say that in its existence Real Slat Lake has championed diversity, acceptance, among other traits.
“This is a responsibility that we take very seriously,” the statement read.
"With the home field advantage and with getting the crowd into it we feel like we are a strong team." pic.twitter.com/5wxJH88gq4
— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) August 13, 2019
More from Real Salt Lake
“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.”
Mike Petke comes back with his own statement
After saying that he would support Real Salt Lake throughout the rest of the season, Petke decided to take on the controversy. According to Petke, he was serving his suspension with the full-knowledge of returning as coach.
“I hope to continue coaching RSL and, in fact, just after this incident had signed an agreement with the team to do just that,” Petke wrote on his official Twitter. “It saddens me that while I held up my end of the bargain, including not speaking about this matter publicly until now, the team has chosen to go the route of terminating my contract.”
The full statement can be read here.
— @petkemike (@petkemike) August 13, 2019
Real Salt Lake has a mid-week match on Wednesday.
The Seattle Sounders FC come to town, looking to rebound after drawing with New England this weekend. Meanwhile, the match will kick off at 10 p.m. EST, as Real Salt Lake looks to carry a four-game unbeaten streak.