Utah Royals FC is proud to announce former 2022 NWSL Draft third overall pick Emily Gray as the Club’s latest signing. The midfielder joins the Royals after most recently playing for the North Carolina Courage the last two seasons.
- A Hokie Hero
Gray cemented herself as one of Virginia Tech University’s greatest athletes when she became the Hokies highest ever NWSL draft pick when she went third overall in the 2022 draft, just behind Naomi Girma and Jaelin Howell, both who have since made their debuts for the U.S. Women’s National Team. While at Tech, Gray helped the Hokies earn three NCAA Tournament berths, was named All-ACC twice and is Tech’s second all-time leader in points (goals+assists). Her senior season she ended the year with nine goals and eight assists, and set a Tech record with the most assists in a single game with four. Her dynamic play in the attacking third saw her become one of the 2022 draft’s hottest prospects.
- A Fresh Start
As a young player with loads of potential, Gray will look to get her professional career back on track after an up-and-down first two years in North Carolina. Gray only appeared in three regular season matches her rookie year, but still managed to record two assists. Unfortunately in 2023, Gray missed the entire season following a torn ACL. Still only 23 years old, URFC fans can look forward to seeing the young attacking midfielder grow under the tutelage of one of best attacking players in league history, Head Coach Amy Rodriguez. Gray has been called up to the USWNT’s U-18, U-19 and U-20 squads in the past, and as her two fellow top three picks in the 2022 NWSL draft have made their senior USWNT debuts, Gray still has plenty of time to join them.
- South Jersey and Proud
New Jersey has a long history of producing fantastic soccer players such as former USWNT legend Carli Lloyd. It was Lloyd who inspired Gray to play soccer, and the Garden State youngster even had Lloyd’s jersey. On draft night when Gray was picked third overall she proudly pronounced “Jersey girls have grit!” Gray will be using that same grit to work back from her ACL injury, and then to establish herself among the Royals attacking options for 2024.
Don’t forget to secure your seat at America First Field for next season and help celebrate the Return of Royalty. Season tickets are available here.