Christen Press has only 2 full days of training with Utah Royals, but she’s already feeling at home. After meeting fans with Sam Johnson at Carnival Real on Saturday, where fans repeatedly told them “welcome to the family”, Press was able to take in the atmosphere at Rio Tinto as a spectator. Utah traded Chicago for Press and Johnson last week, but Press was in Sweden playing with Göteborg at the time. Press, who also played for Göteborg in 2012, says her time with Göteborg saved her career and brought back her joy.
Press played collegiately with Stanford 2007-2010, where she had a record 71 goals and 41 assists in 98 appearances. Following her career with Stanford, Press was drafted 4th overall by Washington Freedom in the 2011 Women’s Professional Soccer Draft. Press played for the Chicago Red Stars from 2014-2017, scoring 35 goals in 68 appearances. This season with Göteborg she had 4 goals in 8 appearances.
When Press visited Rio Tinto Stadium with the USWNT on June 7th for a friendly against China, Utah Royals owner Dell Loy Hansen (in a now infamous moment) got down on one knee in an attempt to convince her to come to Utah. Press revealed today that she couldn’t actually hear what Hansen had to say in that moment because of the reaction from the crowd. Press has 100 caps with the national team and 44 goals. She is also a 2015 Women’s World Cup Champion, Algarve Cup winner 2013 & 2015, and She Believes Cup winner 2016 & 2018.
Both Johnson and Press have expressed their joy with the trade, Press saying they have everything they need to focus on football:
“I’ve been kind of searching for an environment that can help me get to the next level…I really do believe that Utah has those resources, they have the opportunity, they have the infrastructure to make my life exclusively about football….I’m here to play football and I have what I need to do that.”
Press is expected to play tomorrow when Utah Royals face Seattle Reign for the first time this season. Utah is coming off a 2-0 loss in Chicago and currently sit in 6th in the NWSL.