Utah Royals FC is happy to announce the acquisition of Sandy native and former Royals player Michele Vasconcelos ahead of the Club’s reintroduction to the National Women’s Soccer League in 2024.
Vasconcelos won three state championships at Alta High School in addition to playing club soccer at Olympique Montreux in Sandy, before moving on to play for Brigham Young University in 2012. She began her professional career in the United Women’s Soccer league with Real Salt Lake Women in 2016 and was drafted into the NWSL by Chicago Red Stars with the 11th overall pick in 2017. After the Red Stars, Vasconcelos also spent time with URFC, Kansas City and Portland, as well as overseas for Spain’s Sevilla FC.
Vasconcelos joins Mikayla Cluff as the second Utah-born player to join the Royals heading into 2024. Here are three fast facts to get you up to speed on the URFC forward:
- There’s No Place Like Sandy
Michele Vasconcelos (Murphy) was born just minutes from America First Field in Sandy, Utah on May 11, 1994. She shined as a goalscorer at Alta High School, setting a school record with 37 goals and 22 assists in a single season, helping the Hawks to three state championships in four years. Her achievements earned her the 2011-12 Gatorade Utah Girls Soccer Player of the Year honors, 2011 Ms. Soccer award from the Deseret News, and 2011 5A MVP from the Salt Lake Tribune. She played her club soccer at Olympique Montreux, a girls-specific competitive club based in Sandy.
- Rise and Shout
Taking her talents to South Field, Vasconcelos took BYU by storm, scoring eight goals with five assists and starting in all 24 games in the 2012 season, securing the West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year Award to boot. After her medical redshirt season in 2013, Vasconcelos continued to play an integral role for a Cougars team that made three consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament, including a Round of 16 appearance her senior year.
In 65 total matches, Vasconcelos reached the 20 goals/20 assists club and took home the WCC Player of the Year award in 2016 alongside a Top 15 finish on Top Draw Soccer’s list of best players in the country.
- A True Professional
After being selected with the 11th-overall pick in the 2017 NWSL College Draft by Chicago, Vasconcelos spent parts of three seasons on the field for the Red Stars, appearing mainly as a second-half substitute. After returning home for a brief stint with the Royals in 2020, she left with the club to Kansas City, where she scored the team’s first-ever home goal at Children’s Mercy Park in a 3-1 loss to the Houston Dash in 2021.
A loan to Spain saw her appear in 22 matches for Sevilla FC before returning to the NWSL in 2022 with the Portland Thorns. Vasconcelos joins URFC with a breadth of professional experience in two countries and a special connection to both the state of Utah and the Royals organization.
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.