SANDY — When Utah Royals FC opens the NWSL fall series Sunday, Sept. 20, at Portland, Christen Press will not be with the club.
She’ll be on another continent.
Press has completed the paperwork on a move to Manchester United Women in the FA WSL, the two clubs announced Wednesday. The deal, which is subject to her receiving a work permit in England, is contracted to last through the end of the 2020-21 season in England. Utah will retain the player rights to Press if and when she returns to the NWSL.
"I’m really excited to be joining Manchester United this season," Press said of the move. "I’m grateful to have the opportunity to play for such an elite club and beyond ready to get back on the field.
"I feel blessed to have the opportunity to continue to strive to be my best and to compete for trophies this year. I look forward to this new challenge and I can’t wait to start training with the team."
Press will head to Manchester with fellow U.S. teammate Tobin Heath, who plays for the Portland Thorns.
The 31-year-old Press has scored 10 goals in 25 appearances since joining the Royals in 2018 as part of a blockbuster trade with Chicago that brought the U.S. international back to the United States. But she’s also missed plenty of time with the club due to international commitments and opted out of the NWSL Challenge Cup hosted by Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman over the summer.
Manchester United will be Press’ sixth club playing in her third country since 2012. Prior to signing with Utah in 2018, the Southern California native made appearances for Goteborg FC in Sweden, in addition to time with the Chicago Red Stars in NWSL, Tyreso FF in Sweden.
Internationally, Press has helped the United States women’s national team to back-to-back World Cup titles, scoring 58 goals in 138 appearances since earning her first cap in 2013.
"Christen is a world-class player and we are thrilled to have her on board at the club," Manchester United manager Casey Stone said. "She has a proven record and her stats speak for themselves; she’s a ruthless striker who scores so many different types of goals, and I know she can add some real quality to our squad.
"Christen is also hugely experienced and for me it’s fantastic to add another senior figure like her in the dressing room."
Press will be the second U.S. international not available for the Royals' fall series campaign, joining U.S. fullback Kelley O’Hara.
Utah opens the fall series Sept. 20 on Twitch. The Royals will also host OL Reign on Sept. 26, followed by a home match against Portland on Oct. 3 and the fall finale at OL Reign on Oct. 17.
NWSL Fall Series
Sept. 20: Utah Royals FC @ Portland Thorns FC, 1 p.m. MDT (Twitch)
Sept. 26: OL Reign @ Utah Royals FC, 1:30 p.m. MDT (CBS All Access)
Oct. 3: Portland Thorns FC @ Utah Royals FC, 8 p.m. MDT (CBS Sports Network)
Oct. 17: Utah Royals FC @ OL Reign, 6 p.m. MDT (CBS All Access)