Utah Royals Pass Four Times, Pick Up Two Players In NWSL Expansion Draft

Dec 15, 2023, 6:43 PM

Utah Royals FC 2024 NWSL Expansion Draft...

HERRIMAN, UTAH - JULY 17: An NWSL logo sign before the quarterfinal match of the NWSL Challenge Cup between the Houston Dash and the Utah Royals FC at Zions Bank Stadium on July 17, 2020 in Herriman, Utah. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Royals FC passed on four of its six picks in the 2024 NWSL Expansion Draft after trading expansion protection to the majority of the NWSL.

On the other hand, the Bay FC used four of their six picks.

With the first pick in the draft, Bay FC selected defender Alyssa Malonson from the OL Reign.

Utah also looked to the Pacific Northwest for their first pick as they selected forward Elyse Bennett.

The Bay FC kept the trend of midfielders by selecting Tess Boade from the North Carolina Courage.

With the fifth and seventh picks, the Bay FC selected San Diego forward Rachel Hill and North Carolina goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland.

Utah went with another forward on the fourth pick of the draft and picked up Paige Monaghan from Racing Louisville.

With the last pick in the 2024 NWSL Expansion Draft, the Bay FC selected San Diego’s Sierra Enge.

The 2024 NWSL Draft will take place Friday, January 12, at 6 p.m. MST. Utah owns the first pick in the draft.

Expansion Draft Reactions

Utah head coach Amy Rodriguez and sporting director Kelly Cousins gave their thoughts on the draft and what’s next for the Royals.

“There was a lot of preparation,” Rodriguez said. “We were ready for some curveballs. You always have to be adaptable. It was the first competition of many for us and I think we won.”

Some Royals fans were left confused after Utah only used their first two picks.

Cousins made it clear that Utah has a very clear vision for who they want to bring into the building.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work behind the scenes,” Cousins said. “We started building a roster quite early. We did a lot of work before this draft. We are really happy with the players that were available.”

Coach Rodriguez went on to double down on this idea.

“We wanted to go after good personalities and people who add value on and off the pitch,” Rodriguez said. “The picks we made tonight were very intentional.”

Utah Royals Add Five Players To Roster Ahead Of Expansion Draft

Tuesday started with a trade with Gotham FC for goalkeeper Mandy Haught. Utah traded away $150,000 in allocation money and expansion protection.

RELATED: Utah Royals Make Two Trades For Goalkeeper, First-Round Picks

Utah then traded with Kansas City for former Royals midfielder Kate Del Fava and the No. 4 overall pick in the 2024 draft.

Utah looked south for its next target.

Two trades with Houston and Orlando brought in former Ute goalkeeper Carly Nelson, former BYU Cougar Cameron Tucker, a 2024 international roster spot, and allocation money.

Finally, Utah traded expansion protection to Portland for Hannah Betfort, the No. 33 overall pick, and allocation money.

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Chandler Holt is a co-host for the Jazz Notes podcast and a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter @ChandlerHoltKSL or on Threads @chandlerho1t.

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Utah Royals Pass Four Times, Pick Up Two Players In NWSL Expansion Draft