Utah Royals FC traded away Brooke Elby and five draft picks for the rights of a player who had yet to sign with the team. It sounded risky, but URFC were confident that US Women’s National Team forward Christen Press would join the team soon.
This move, dubbed a “mega-trade,” saw players and picks traded between Utah Royals FC, the Houston Dash, and the Chicago Red Stars. The Royals walked away with the rights to one of the brightest stars in American soccer. Press famously did not show up to training at the start of the season for the Dash, and instead signed overseas with Swedish team Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC.
Press’ contract with Göteborg runs through July 8th, but KSL reporter Sean Walker has disclosed that Press could join the Royals as early as Friday. URFC has made an agreement with Göteborg to get Press here before her contact, which was only three months in length, ends. In regards to the move, the Göteborg FC stated,
After a complicated swap deal between several clubs, KGFC has made an agreement that the US striker leaves Sweden already now, a few weeks before her contract expires.
“We are pleased we have made an economic agreement,” said Peter Bronsman, chairman of Kopparbergs / Göteborg FC.
Press herself expressed excitement via Twitter today to be joining Utah:
There seems to have been some concern from fans that Press would not sign with URFC, fearing that she would repeat what happened with the Dash earlier this year. However, these situations are quite different. Press was always fairly clear that Houston was not a wanted destination but had expressed interest in Utah. The quality of the Royal’s facilities, coaching staff, and front office is extremely high. RSL & URFC owner Dell Loy Hansen has stated his intention for URFC to become the Bayern Munich of women’s soccer, and Press may have taken notice of both the ambition and action behind this goal.
What’s next for Christen Press and Utah Royals FC? Press will travel to Salt Lake City and paperwork needs to be signed and approved by the league. Once approved by the NWSL, she’s free to don the gold jersey. Sean Walker also reported that it’s been agreed that neither Press nor defender Sam Johnson will play this weekend. The earliest we’re likely to see these players in a Royals kit is Wednesday, June 27th when URFC host Laura Harvey’s former team, Seattle Reign FC.
Utah Royals have only conceded 8 goals in 13 games played this season but have scored only 10 goals. Press will bring a much needed spark to the attack and could help transform Utah into one of the most dangerous teams in the NWSL.