August 12, 2019 / 10:30 PM / 4 months ago

RSL fires head coach Petke after repeated misconduct

The contract of Real Salt Lake coach Mike Petke was terminated late Sunday, the MLS club announced.

FILE PHOTO: Jul 20, 2019; Sandy, UT, USA; Real Salt Lake head coach Mike Petke waits for the game to start against the Minnesota United at Rio Tinto Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Assistant Freddy Juarez has been named the interim head coach for the remainder of the 2019 season.

During a three-week period that included three suspensions, a $25,000 fine and other sanctions, Petke was scheduled to return to the team Monday. RSL had other plans.

“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,” the club said in a statement.

In July, Petke was suspended for three games in MLS and in the Leagues Cup for his conduct toward officials after a loss.

MLS also fined him for his “use of unacceptable and offensive language as well as repeated confrontational misconduct towards match officials” following a 1-0 loss to Tigres UANL in the quarterfinals of the Leagues Cup on July 24. He was further ordered to attend anger management classes and issue written apologies to the league and the official.

RSL announced the suspension of Petke from all club activities for two weeks without pay.

“There is absolutely no place for this type of behavior in our society, and Major League Soccer does not tolerate the repugnant language used by Mr. Petke,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement in late July.

“All MLS players, staff and fans must know that these comments are unacceptable, and I am extremely disappointed that a leader of one of our clubs used such insensitive language. We are committed to providing an environment in which all individuals are treated with dignity and respect at all times.”

Petke began shouting after the whistle to referee John Pitti, who issued a red card, although that did not stop Petke’s confrontation.

Following Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Sporting Kansas City, Real Salt Lake (11-9-4, 37 points) is in sixth place in the Western Conference and in contention for a playoff berth.

Petke, who compiled 38-34-15 record with RSL, became the head coach three games into the 2017 season after the club dismissed Jeff Cassar.

—Field Level Media

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