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What the signing of Desiree Scott means for Utah Royals FC

Confirmation of the Canada WNT midfielder means good things for the first-year club.

Canada v United States Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

When the news came down that Utah Royals FC had signed “The Destroyer” for 2018, naturally I imagined setting this loose on NWSL forwards:

No? That’s not what they are getting? Maybe they meant this:

Probably not him either.

In reality, the top women’s soccer club in the state of Utah is getting one of North America’s premier defensive midfielders. For a soccer community that is familiar with Real Salt Lake captain Kyle Beckerman controlling the space in front of the center backs, Desiree Scott is a welcome presence among the Royals FC roster.

After graduating from University of Manitoba, Scott first played professionally for Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s women’s side, where she scored her only professional club goal in 13 matches played. She has a total of 89 club and 129 CanWNT appearances to her name, playing her club soccer mostly for FC Kansas City with one season spent with Notts County in the FA Women’s Super League.

As the nickname implies, Scott spends most of her time patrolling the middle of the pitch in front of the defensive line. Listed by Canada Soccer’s website as being 155 cm tall (5’1” for us imperial scale users), she isn’t using her size to contain forwards, relying instead on her tactical awareness and positioning to win the ball or drive the play towards a teammate who can intercept and dispossess.

For a team that is anticipated to play a high-tempo style with quick passing and sharp counter-attacks, having a solid presence in the #6 position gives Laura Harvey’s club a big advantage, allowing Kelley O’Hara to venture forward from the right back spot to combine with the attack higher up the field. It’s a dynamic that both players may not have been used to either in Kansas City or at Sky Blue FC, but one that should pay nice dividends as they play together.

It also provides team captain Becky Sauerbrunn and her back line with added confidence and support knowing they shouldn’t be left out of position and scrambling to recover very often with a player like Scott slowing down attacks in front of them. It’s possible they can defend with a high line without too much fear of being exposed while the team connects passes through the midfield and looks to exploit scoring chances.

This is definitely one of the big commitments for the team to secure from among the FCKC players, with Scott being a considerable international talent occupying a subsidized player spot along with Sauerbrunn, O’Hara, Amy Rodriguez, and Sydney Leroux. The signing adds a lot of stability and skill to the starting eleven, and adds to the already formidable defensive base that the team has built for 2018.