The National Women's Soccer League is set to return to Utah in 2024 after the league announced plans to expand Saturday. The Utah Royals will join the league next year as the newest expansion franchise and will be owned by Real Salt Lake's David Blitzer and Ryan Smith. 

Blitzer and Smith purchased Real Salt Lake–Utah’s MLS club–in 2022, a deal that included the opportunity to acquire an expansion team in the NWSL.

“When we acquired Real Salt Lake last year, we said it was a matter of when, not if, the NWSL would return to Utah. This has always been an integral part of our mission. With today’s announcement, we are thrilled to fulfill the promise we made to our incredible fan base,” Blitzer said in a statement. “We are grateful for the opportunity to use our resources and platform to take women’s soccer to the next level while inspiring future players and fans globally."

The Royals previously existed in the NWSL from 2018 to ’20 before the team 

Back in 2020, former Royals owner Dell Loy Hansen was forced to sell both the NWSL club and its MLS counterpart after a report indicated he'd repeatedly used racist language in the presence of team employees. The franchise was sold and its players were transferred to the Kansas City Current, then ceased operations in December 2020, albeit with the option to resume in the future. 

In their return to Salt Lake, the Royals plan to call America First Field their home and already announced a jersey sponsorship with America First Credit Union.