There’s a lot of new things to talk about for the Utah Royals Football Club, but if you’re like me you try to look in depth at what you see in front of you. URFC has a lot to work out before they really get going and they start to settle into whatever the team identity becomes. In the meantime, there are areas in this team that are so promising I’m already calling them gold.
Laura Harvey has learned to be the boss the good old fashioned English way. With hard work and ability, she has become one of the most sought-after coaches in women’s soccer. She’s fun and friendly, which helps generate a great locker room atmosphere and takes a lot of stress out of the grind so players can focus on the job at hand.
If you watch her coach, she’s always trying to figure out what they can do better. Not unlike every coach, but with coach Harvey, you get a chance to actually see her brain at work through her intense expressions. She wants to get things right and she’s going to hold players accountable for their play.
But don’t let her great personality fool you. Successful coaches don’t win because they’re pleasant. When it comes to game day expect a junkyard dog protecting our house and going for the kill. It’s going to be inspirational to see how determined Laura is to get the result she wants.
That starting backline can’t get much better than what the Utah Royals have got going for them. Two world cup winners, two international captains (one who leads the league in passes), and a young Sydney Miramontez, covertly taking over a starting fullback position.
Becky Sauerbrunn is a true warrior. With a dominating presence, the American skipper is the anchor to what has been a pretty tight ship on the defensive side, most of the time. It’s been four games, but it’s looked like wonder goals or gifts is how someone is going to score against the Royals so far. Let's see if Sauerbrunn can fix the communication breakdowns.
Scottish national team captain, Rachel Corsie, is probably the player I’m most excited to watch. Completing what I believe is going to be the best CB pairing in Utah since the Borchers/Olave days of 2010, she is one of the most important pieces to this team. The simple passes win games and she’s doing a great job setting the standard for a team still learning who they are. If she continues to lead by example, giving up goals will be a rare experience for the faithful at the RioT.
We’ve all seen that goal two minutes into the team’s competitive existence, but the more you watch it the more you realize how easy Gunnhildur Yrsa Jónsdóttir made that goal look. She has real talent. Lucky for us she put some of it into soccer and brought all of it to Utah.
Efficient, effective, and aware, Gunny is the Royals’ attacking mind. Determined and reliable, she aggressively pursues every positive position on the field. She just keeps moving. Even her walk off the ball is at full throttle. While other players are sucking air at altitude, you can see her pushing through and meditatively breathing. Great efficiency and true grit from an athlete who will become the people’s champion.
You can see how driven she is to perform well, not only for her teammates and fans but for herself (in the most humble and zen way possible). With her heart on her sleeve, she’s going to show up and make you a believer in the way of her philosophies. This is the kind of effort and personality that brings the best out the people.
Watch for some inspirational effort and play at Rio Tinto Stadium on April 28th, and you might notice a blossoming squad. This team is loaded with quality players and staff, from the top on down, and they’re going to give us a lot of exciting things to talk about. I hope you’re as excited as I am to see our ladies shine in their Utah gold.