Utah Royals FC select four in 2018 NWSL Dispersal Draft

SANDY, Utah (Tuesday, January 30, 2018) - Utah Royals FC selected four former Boston Breakers in today’s NWSL dispersal draft: goalkeeper Abby Smith, forward Katie Stengel, midfielder Brooke Elby and the rights to MF Amanda DaCosta, Head Coach Laura Harvey announced today.

“Once the Boston decision was rendered, we quickly identified potential needs we could have in our group and those which could be filled by this process,” said Harvey. “With the three contracted players - Smith, Stengel and Elby - we believe we addressed those needs, and acquiring the rights to players like DaCosta is always valuable in the NWSL.”

“We believe Smith is a future U.S. National Team caliber player, while Stengel and Elby have proven to be impact NWSL contributors. Our organization is excited to welcome them to our roster, and we look forward to kicking off preseason in three weeks.”

GK Abby Smith enters her third year in the NWSL with over 21 appearances for the Boston Breakers. Smith also wore the US crest for several years as a member of the U-17, U-20, and U-23 teams, and was rostered on the senior side in May 2017 for friendlies against Sweden and Norway.

Smith, a Plano native, made 72 NCAA appearances for the University of Texas Longhorns, where she set a school record her freshman year for lowest-goals against average as a rookie (.63). The following year Smith’s .810 save percentage would rank her number in in the Big 12 Conference, which would result in winning the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-American honoree in 2010 and 2011, and Parade Magazine All-American in 2010.

Smith finished her college career ranked first in the Big 12 Conference for 96 total saves, with a 5.33 saves-per-match. Her 30th career shutout in 2015 set a new school career clean sheet record.

FW Katie Stengel is a veteran professional who will bring a resume of 16 goals to Salt Lake, including seven goals with the USWNT youth teams. A 2012 FIFA Women’s U20 World Cup champion, Stengel began her professional career in 2014 with the former USL W-league’s Angeles Blues. She then joined the female Bundesliga side for Bayern Munich, where she appeared in 20 matches, scoring nine goals, and winning the league title.

In the 2015/16 seasons, Stengel signed with the NWSL Washington Spirit, where she made 26 regular-season appearances, scoring four goals in just under 1,000 minutes. Last year, Stengel was picked up by the Boston Breakers, where she appeared in 12 matches.

The Utah Royals FC’s 23rd pick of the dispersal draft was MF Brooke Elby, who appeared in 13 matches during the NWSL 2017 season, logging more than 800 minutes with the Boston Breakers. She made her professional career debut with Melbourne Victory on loan in Australia.

Elby also had a successful career at one of the country’s top NCAA college soccer programs, playing all four seasons for the University of North Caroline Tar heels. She registered 73 games, with three career goals and seven assists.

The final Utah Royals FC dispersal draft selection was the rights to Amanda DaCosta as the 34th pick. A professional sports broadcaster with international experience, DaCosta brings years of experience to the NWSL. She began playing professionally for the Washington Freedom in 2011 after a successful college campaign for the Florida State Seminoles, where she registered 96 appearances and 17 goals.  

In 2012 DaCosta signed with Liverpool FC for the 2013 FA WSL season. She would ultimately return to the states to play for the Washington Spirit in 2015, carrying over 40 appearances and three goals for Liverpool.

In 2006, Da Costa was selected for the USWNT U17 side, and would continue to play with the youth teams until 2012. She ended her USWNT campaign with a game winner for the US to beat Norway in the 3-Nations Tournament. In 2015, she made her first appearance for the Portugal women's national soccer team, in a Euro 2017 qualifier against Spain.

Player: Abby Smith

Position: Goalkeeper

Height: 5 foot 9

Date of Birth: October 4, 1993

Hometown: Plano, Texas

Previous Club: Boston Breakers (NWSL)

How acquired: Drafted fifth overall in the 2018 NWSL Dispersal Draft

Player: Katie Stengel

Position: Forward

Height: 5 foot 9

Date of Birth: February 29, 1992

Hometown: Melbourne, Florida

Previous Club: Boston Breakers (NWSL)

How acquired: Drafted 14th overall in the 2018 NWSL Dispersal Draft

Player: Brooke Elby

Position: Midfielder

Height: 5 foot two

Date of Birth: May 24, 1993

Hometown: Arcadia, California

Previous Club: Boston Breakers (NWSL)

How acquired: Drafted 23rd overall in the 2018 NWSL Dispersal Draft

Player: Amanda DaCosta

Position: Midfielder

Height: 5 foot 4

Date of Birth: October 7, 1989

Hometown: Somers, New York

Previous Club: Boston Breakers (NWSL)

How acquired: Drafted 34th overall in the 2018 NWSL Dispersal Draft