Forward Christen Press is headed back to the National Women's Soccer League. After getting traded to the Houston Dash during the 2018 NWSL College Draft, Press opted to play in Sweden instead of playing for Houston, but her team decided not to renew her short-term contract when it ran out in July. Left blowing in the wind, Press decided to push for a place back in the NWSL. The move to Utah involved a few awkward moments when, after a USWNT match at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, Royals owner Dell Loy Hansen got down on one knee and appeared to propose to Press.
The Houston Dash were always determined to get a United States Women's National Team player in return for the rights to Press after they gave up Carli Lloyd to get her, but it didn't seem like any teams were willing to make the commitment to a player that might bolt for California when a team is officially created in her home state. The final piece of the puzzle fell into place when forward Sofia Huerta and head coach Rory Dames had a falling out. Huerta, who plays outside back for the USWNT, and Dames had been in a muted war of words after Dames called out Huerta during a post-game press conference and Huerta liked some questionable tweets about Dames on Twitter. The pieces of the move were prematurely leaked when the players involved in the trade were healthy scratches from their respective teams.
The trade officially involves the following moves:
The Houston Dash receive forward Sofia Huerta and midfielder Taylor Comeau from Chicago.
The Chicago Red Stars receive defender Brooke Elby, the first-overall selection in the 2019 NWSL College Draft, and a conditional first- and second-round pick in 2020 and a first-round selection in 2021 from Utah. They also received the rights to Press and a first-round pick in 2019 from Houston.
Utah Royals FC received the rights to Christen Press and defender Sam Johnson from Chicago.
Players should be available to play for their new teams within 10 days.