SANDY — Whether she returns from Manchester United immediately or not, Christen Press' time in a Utah Royals FC kit is done.
Expansion side Racing Louisville FC selected Press among the 14 picks in the National Women's Soccer League expansion draft Thursday evening, sending the NWSL rights to the U.S. international to the newcomers in exchange for $75,000 in allocation money.
The move shifts Press' rights to Louisville if and when she decides to return to the United States. Press signed a season-long contract to play with Manchester United in England's Women's Super League.
That took her away from Utah through the NWSL fall series, a four-match run of exhibition matches that followed the league's inaugural NWSL Challenge Cup in Utah. Press had previously elected not to participate in the Challenge Cup.
"We are appreciative of the contributions made by Press and wish her luck in this next chapter," Utah general manager Stephanie Lee said in a statement. "The decision to leave Press unprotected allowed us to focus on players we were certain would and could show up to contribute in the 2021 season, and provides us some flexibility with allocation money during our current transition."
Press first joined the Royals during the 2018 NWSL season and spent two and a half years in Utah, when the forward appeared in 25 matches, scored 10 goals and added four assists.
Among their other picks, Louisville also claimed the rights to fellow U.S. international Tobin Heath, who was left unprotected by Portland Thorns FC while the striker appears as a teammate of Press in Manchester.