Utah Royals Announce Trade For NWSL Veteran Defender Kaleigh Riehl
Nov 20, 2023, 10:24 AM
HERRIMAN, Utah – The Utah Royals have made another roster acquisition as they prepare for the first season of play in the National Women’s Soccer League for the expansion franchise.
URFC announced they have acquired veteran defender Kaleigh Riehl from San Diego Wave FC. Utah gave up $60,000 in Allocation money for the 27-year-old Riehl.
Things just got Riehl in Utah
Welcome to the Royals, Kaleigh Riehl!
— Utah Royals (@UtahRoyalsFC) November 20, 2023
“Both Kelly (Cousins, URFC Sporting Director) and myself are excited to welcome Riehl to the Club,” said Utah Head Coach Amy Rodriguez. “I have no doubt that these players will put their blood, sweat and tears into this team. As we build Utah Royals FC from scratch, these are precisely the type of players that you want – ones that will bring not just talent but also a relentlessness to roll up their sleeves up and get to work.”
About Kaleigh Riehl
A 27-year-old out of Fairfax Station, Virginia, Riehl played collegiately at Penn State, winning an NCAA Division I title with the Nittany Lions in 2015. She was named Big Ten Defender of the Year in 2018. Riehl set the NCAA record for minutes played by an outfield player with 8,847 across 101 appearances.
Riehl’s NWSL debut came back in 2020 against the previous iteration of Utah Royals soccer. when she took the field for Sky Blue FC in the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup. Following 2020, Riehl was selected by Louisville in the 2021 expansion draft. She appeared in 21 matches for Racing in 2021. Riehl was selected by San Diego in the 2022 NWSL Expansion Draft.
In 2023, Riehl appeared in 19 of San Diego’s 22 matches, including 18 starts. She partnered with the NWSL Defensive Player of the Year to anchor one of the league’s best defenses. Riehl’s 82 clearances were the seventh-most in the NWSL.
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The Royals were first established in Sandy, Utah as an NWSL expansion club. The team played as the Royals for three seasons and held its home matches at Rio Tinto Stadium, also home of Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake.
Originally founded in November 2017, the Royals played in Utah from 2018-20. The franchise was moved to Kansas City in 2020 and currently plays in Missouri under the “Currents” nickname.
The club announced its return on Saturday, March 11.