Utah Royals FC signed Verónica “Vero” Boquete in January 2019, the first major roster move in the offseason, hoping that she would provide stability to the shaky midfield we often saw in 2018 and to the roster losing key players to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. In signing Boquete, Utah also hoped the Spanish international would create opportunities in the attack and establish a leadership presence as a former captain for the Spanish National Team.
Boquete previously played for the Chicago Red Stars in the WPSL (2010), the Philadelphia Independece (2011-12), and with the Portland Thorns (2014) in the United States. In Europe, she played for RCD Español de Barcelona, FC Energiya Voronezh in Russia, Tyresö FF in Sweden, FFC Frankfurt, Bayern Munich in Germany, Paris Saint-Germain in France, and then before coming to Utah, she was with Beijing BG Phoenix.
Boquete’s signing was needed, especially since she would bring the experience Utah would be missing during the World Cup. From game one in April against the Washington Spirit, her presence in the midfield immediately created opportunities, and the midfield simply looked better.
In her 21 appearances, Boquete completed 78.2% of her passes, including 33 key passes. She also took seven shots, three of which were on target. Defensively, Boquete had six clearances and had 15 interceptions. She was such a part of Utah’s playmaking that she was fouled 28 times, and when she suffered an ankle injury in the summer, Utah struggled offensively. Her six assists led Utah Royals FC, and she was tied for third in the NWSL with Jaelene Hinkle, falling just two behind league leader Yūki Nagasato from the Chicago Red Stars, who had eight total.
Though Boquete brought a much-needed flair to the midfield, her contributions often led to missed opportunities and her teammates’ inability to finish in the final third. Oftentimes, she looked frustrated with the lack of finishing and missed passes.
Boquete came to Utah to win. With an extensive resume of championships in Spain (2009, 2010), Sweden (2012) and Germany (2015-16), as well as the UEFA Women’s Championship with FFC Frankfurt in 2014-15, Boquete has been vocal about her reason for coming to Utah to help the club. However, 2019 was a disappointing year for that goal.
Boquete is due to return in 2020 since Utah exercised her contract option. Her second year with the club will be a decisive one for her future in Utah.