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Utah Royals FC Sends Three Players To USWNT; Signs Midfielder

Jan 4, 2019, 11:26 AM
Utah Royals FC forward Christen Press (21) works against Seattle Reign FC defender Steph Catley (7)...
Utah Royals FC forward Christen Press (21) works against Seattle Reign FC defender Steph Catley (7) as the Utah Royals and the Seattle Reign play at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Wednesday, June 27, 2018. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)
(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SANDY, Utah – Utah Royals FC announced that three players have been called up to the U.S. Women’s National Team by Head Coach Jill Ellis for January training camp in Portugal.

Defender Becky Sauerbrunn, defender Kelley O’Hara and forward Christen Press will join the National Team.

The United States will face 2019 FIFA World Cup host France on January 19 in Le Havre, France, before taking on Spain on January 22 in the first-ever meeting between the two clubs in Alicante, Spain.

“It’s a real positive to start the year with this training period in Portugal and then play two top teams in France and Spain away,” said Ellis. “Finding ways to be successful against European teams in Europe is something every team in the World Cup will have to do to advance deep into the tournament, so this is an essential trip in our prep for the summer.”

Sauerbrunn was named the 2018 MVP and Co-Defensive Player of the Year for the Royals, she made her first World Cup appearance in 2011. She was also a member of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, where she played every minute of the tournament to help lead the United States to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Sauerbrunn has 149 career caps on the USWNT.

O’Hara also appeared in the 2011 World Cup with the United States National Team and was a member of the 2015 World Cup winning squad. O’Hara scored her first national team goal in the 2015 World Cup semifinal against Germany. O’Hara appeared in 112 career games while scoring two goals.

Press holds 106 caps and 46 goals for team USA after first appearing with the USWNT in 2012. She played in all five games of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship tallying two goals and one assist. Press was also a member of the 2015 Women’s World Cup winning squad alongside Utah Royals FC teammates, Sauerbrunn and O’Hara.

The USWNT will commence the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup held in France on June 11 against Thailand. Along with Thailand the USWNT is joined by Sweden and Chile in Group F.

All three players are scheduled rejoin URFC prior to the commencement of the 2019 preseason.

Royals Sign Veronica Boquete

Utah Royals FC announced  that the club has signed Spanish Women’s National Team veteran midfielder Veronica Boquete.

Her attacking prowess will be essential to Utah Royals FC in the club’s second season as Head Coach Laura Harvey builds a roster capable of withstanding departures for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“I wanted a new challenge in an ambitious club. There is nothing better than Utah Royals FC and the NWSL,” Boquete said. “I am happy to be back in the U.S. and I am grateful for the trust of Utah Royals FC. I can’t wait to start the season and fight for our goals. Great club, team, fantastic fans, and a world class coach. I am looking forward to meeting my teammates and to work with Laura.”

Boquete moves from Beijing BG Phoenix and is starting her fourth stint in the U.S., previously playing for the Chicago Red Stars in the WPSL (2010), the Philadelphia Independence in WPS (2011-12) where she earned WPS Player of the Year honors in 2011, and in 2014 with the Portland Thorns in NWSL.

She starred for RCD Español de Barcelona, winning the Golden Boot with 41 goals in 29 matches in 2010-11; FC Energiya Voronezh in Russia; Tyresö FF in Sweden; FFC Frankfurt and Bayern Munich in Germany; and Paris Saint-Germain in France.

“We are really happy to bring Vero to Utah. She is a proven talent that knows what it takes to play in the NWSL,” Harvey said. “Her commitment to wanting the best is unbelievable and once we started speaking about the possibility of bringing her to the club, that level of professionalism shined through. Vero is a player I have admired for a number of years and I am glad we can finally work together. She is a proven goal-scorer, play-maker, and can play anywhere in the midfield or the frontline.”

A winner at every level, Boquete has 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.

On the international level, she served as captain for Spain in the 2013 UEFA Women’s European Championship and in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada and won the 2017 Algarve Cup, in addition to the 2004 UEFA Women’s Under-19 Championship.

URFC is entering its second season in NWSL, having finished the inaugural campaign fifth in the league, just two points removed from a playoff berth.  Rio Tinto Stadium boasted the league’s second-highest attendance during the season, with an average attendance of 9,466 per game.

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Utah Royals FC Sends Three Players To USWNT; Signs Midfielder