Utah Royals Coaches, Players Eager To Get Back To Competition Ahead Of Challenge Cup

Jun 16, 2020, 5:14 PM | Updated: 5:14 pm
Utah Royals' Christen Press competes for the ball against FC Sky Blue in Sandy on Saturday, June 30...
Utah Royals' Christen Press competes for the ball against FC Sky Blue in Sandy on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Jeff Allred, Deseret News)
(Jeff Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah Royals FC manager Craig Harrington and center-back Rachel Corsie are eager to get back to their competitive ways ahead of the 2020 Challenge Cup scheduled to take place in Utah starting on June 27.

“I think that (competitive matches) is ultimately why we are here and why we play, I think that is certainly something for me that I have missed,” Corsie said. “I know there are a number of players that have not played for a long time, for most players the season ended in October of last year which seems crazy that some people have gone so long without playing competitive football.

Both Corsie and Harrington suggested that the early onset of nerves has crept in. The Royals only have eight more training sessions before the tournament kicks-off, not much time to fine-tune some much-needed details.

Harrington, in particular, is excited, eager, yet anxious as the 38-year-old is on the verge of making his Utah Royals debut after joining the club earlier this year.

“I am sure we have made mistakes already, but I am also sure that we have done things really well,” Harrington said regarding his first few months with the club. “Only time will tell… I can’t wait for us to get our there and hopefully we will do ourselves justice and perform and do what we think we can do,” he added.

The Challenge Cup schedule was released on the morning of Tuesday, June 16, the Utah Royals will be tasked with a daunting road to the knockout stages as three of their four group games occur at 10:30 a.m. Furthermore, just 12 days separate the Royals’ first game and their last group game. The teams that best plan and execute their recovery strategy will likely progress into the knockout stages.

While the other eight NWSL clubs will be segregated into villages, limiting any outside interaction with society, the Royals will be allowed to sleep at their own homes during the tournament. However, strict regulations demand the Royals players to never leave their homes unless travelling back into the tournament grounds. An advantage to the Royals, nonetheless.

Tom Hackett is a Utah and Real Salt Lake Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the It’s Utah’s World Podcast (Utah Football themed) and The Lion’s Den Podcast (Real Salt Lake themed). Follow him on Twitter: @TomCantHackett.


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Utah Royals Coaches, Players Eager To Get Back To Competition Ahead Of Challenge Cup