UTAH ROYALS FC

Jaskaniec, Roque Ready To Get To Work With Utah Royals FC In 2024

Jan 17, 2024, 5:08 PM

Goalkeeper Cristina Roque Utah Royals FC NWSL...

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 01: Goalkeeper Cristina Roque #1 of the Florida State Seminoles prepares to punt the ball against the Clemson Tigers in the first half during the semifinals round at Wake Med Soccer Park on December 01, 2023 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

(Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Two of the Utah Royals’ picks in the 2024 NWSL Draft, Emma Jaskaniec and Cristina Roque, spoke on their draft day experience, goals for 2024, and getting started in the NWSL.

Utah selected Jaskaniec with the 26th overall pick in the second round. The Wisconsin forward explained that her draft night was hectic but everything worked out in the end.

“My draft night was a little crazy,” Jaskaniec said. “The first round is going and I’m super anxious. The power goes out in our house. We’re all screaming and scrambling trying to figure everything out. We’re all huddled around the phone watching it and I see that I have a missed call from a minute ago. I call the number back and Amy (Rodriguez) says they’re about to pick me.”

As a Wisconsin native, Jaskaniec is used to cold weather. However, she said she was more focused on and excited about the prospect of suiting up for an NWSL expansion team.

“When I found out I was coming to Utah, I was really excited that I get to be a part of a brand-new organization,” Jaskaniec said. “I can’t wait to get started.”

Jaskaniec went on to say that she is taking this process one step at a time but she is looking forward to the opportunity to get on the pitch.

“I’m a creative player and very hard-working,” Jaskaniec said. “First and foremost, I need to worry about getting a contract. After that, just seeing how it progresses and doing what I do best.”

Less than ten picks after the Royals selected Jaskaniec, Utah picked up its third goalkeeper with Florida State’s Cristina Roque.

Roque’s draft day went a little smoother than Jaskaniec but the level of excitement was all the same.

“It took me a couple of minutes to fully process that I did get picked,” Roque said. “To have the opportunity to play with such amazing players and be a part of an expansion team. All in all, it was a pretty good night.”

Roque was quick to acknowledge the challenges that lie ahead with the transition from college to professional soccer.

Roque said she looks forward to learning from the veterans in Utah’s locker room.

“Going from college to the NWSL, it’s going to be a big bump in speed of play,” Roque said. “Going in with an open mind and remembering that you’re there to learn from others who have been in the league. It’s going to be a learning game.”

Before Roque or Jaskaniec got drafted, Utah selected Florida State defender Lauren Flynn.

Roque said that she is grateful to have a familiar face in Utah as she starts her professional career.

“It’s definitely awesome,” Roque said. “I Facetimed (Lauren Flynn) and she was next to the coaching staff so I saw them right away. We’ve had four seasons together and having that connection is something to look forward to. Just going through this experience together brings us closer even though we’re already close. (Flynn) was my roommate in college.”

About Emma Jaskaniec

The Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin native played for the Badgers from 2019-23. During her career in Madison, Wisconsin, Jaskaniec recorded 37 goals, 15 assists, 198 shots, and 101 shots on target in 91 matches.

About Cristina Roque

The Winter Garden, Florida native was a two-time national champion as a member of the Seminoles and played at Florida State from 2020-23. During her four seasons with FSU, Roque recorded 145 saves with a save percentage of 76.3 percent in 67 games. She posted a 59-6-2 record with the Seminoles.

About Utah Royals FC

The Royals announced the club’s return to the Utah and the National Women’s Soccer League for the 2024 season on March 11.

Originally founded in November 2017, the Royals played in Utah from 2018-20. The franchise was moved to Kansas City in 2020 and plays in Missouri under the “Currents” nickname.

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 America First Field, formerly known as Rio Tinto Stadium, which was also the home of Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake.

In December 2020, the NWSL announced that the Royals would cease to operate in Utah and the club’s players were transferred to Kansas City.

In January 2022, a new Real Salt Lake ownership group, led by David Blitzer and Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith, took hold of the option to bring an NWSL club back to the state.

The Royals return to NWSL play in the 2024 season.

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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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Jaskaniec, Roque Ready To Get To Work With Utah Royals FC In 2024