SANDY — Real Salt Lake general manager Garth Lagerwey is leaving the club at the end of the month, capping a hectic December in which the club already voluntarily and involuntarily parted ways with four veteran players.
On Tuesday, RSL announced that assistant coach Craig Waibel has been appointed as the team's new technical director and will take over once Lagerwey’s contract expires on Dec. 31.
"Craig is an extraordinarily bright, successful individual whose teams have been winners at every step of his career," RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen said in a press release. "He is the ideal person to work with (coach) Jeff Cassar, (president) Bill Manning and myself to evolve this club forward, building upon the incredible foundation established during the last 10 years by Garth Lagerwey and countless others."
Lagerwey is reportedly leaving the club to join the Seattle Sounders, but his specific role with RSL’s Western Conference rival hasn’t been revealed yet.
Lagerwey spent six and a half years as Real Salt Lake’s general manager, with the club qualifying for the playoffs all seven seasons. His departure comes one year after former coach Jason Kreis departed for the New York City FC head coaching job.
Last month when Lagerwey addressed the media following RSL’s playoff loss, he said he was committed to finishing out his contract but would also consider other career paths.
He made it clear that if he did leave, it wouldn’t be an easy choice.
“I like Salt Lake very much. My wife likes it, my family likes it. I moved here as a single guy, and was dating my wife long distance for a while, met in Washington D.C. Since I’ve been here, we bought a house, got married, started a family and it’s a special place here. Our lives have changed here,” said Lagerwey.
His departure follows that of RSL veterans Nat Borchers to Portland, Ned Grabavoy and Chris Wingert to New York City and Robbie Findley to Toronto FC.
The task of rebuilding Real Salt Lake’s depth now falls on Waibel, who’s only been with the team for one season after joining Cassar’s coaching staff in January.
Waibel played in MLS for 11 seasons, winning four MLS Cups with three different teams
“Our fans will absolutely love Craig Waibel," said RSL president Bill Manning. "He is a bright, witty, self-effacing gentleman who is respected and admired throughout the soccer industry.”
Waibel retired from MLS in 2010 and then spent a year as an assistant coach at the University of Michigan in 2011 and then two years at the University of Washington from 2012 to 2013.
Along with Waibel, Elliott Fall has been promoted from director of soccer operations to assistant general manager.