Utah Royals

URFC Acquires Forward Ify Onumonu From Gotham FC 


HERRIMAN, UTAH (Saturday, December 30, 2023) – Utah Royals FC today acquired FW Ify Onumonu from reigning NWSL champion Gotham FC in exchange for $40,000 in allocation money. Onumonu – signed through the 2024/25 NWSL seasons – becomes the 15th player on the 2024 expansion Utah side’s roster, with the upcoming NWSL occurring on Jan. 12 and players reporting to preseason between Jan. 22-29.

Onumonu has played each of the last three seasons with Gotham FC since joining in 2020 via trade with OL Reign. Over the 2021 and 2022 regular seasons with the NY-based side, the striker appeared in 40 matches – starting 35 – recording 10 goals and six assists in nearly 3,000 minutes. In the most recent 2023 NWSL regular season, Onumonu appeared in 14 matches and started in four, recording 370 minutes and one assist.

Onumonu’s summer was highlighted by her critical contribution to Nigeria’s 2023 World Cup squad. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., native helped the Super Falcons to a Round of 16 appearance, where the team was knocked out by eventual runner-up England. In the former Cal-Berkeley standout’s first World Cup, Onumonu appeared in four matches and started in three, playing 227 minutes for one of the world’s most dynamic sides.

“This is an amazing opportunity to be coached by one of the best who ever did it, tapping into Amy Rodriguez’ history with the NWSL and her being a former No. 9,” said Onumonu, also noting that she will reunite with three former teammates in Utah (Imani Dorsey, Mandy Haught, Paige Monaghan). “Having the conversation with Amy and (Sporting Director Kelly Cousins) was incredibly important to me, hearing their vision and understanding the commitment to and investment in providing the best for the athletes is what persuaded me to play for the Royals.

“I’m quite excited for our style of play,” continued Onumonu. “Amy mentioned that we will look to mix some of what Man City and Bayern Munich try to do – keep the ball, if you lose it, get it back as quickly as possible. This is what interests me – at this point in my career, I want to play with the ball and not run around mindlessly or get caught in kick-and-run. This whole project intrigues me, as I’m always looking to learn more – what better way to learn than to try to emulate a style of play and model ourselves after the best in the world.”

Prior to joining Gotham FC, Onumonu also played for the OL Reign (2019-20) and Portland Thorns (2018), after being drafted as the eighth overall pick by the Boston Breakers in the 2017 NWSL Draft.

Before embarking on her professional career, Onumonu was a standout at University of California-Berkeley, scoring 33 goals in 82 NCAA games, the former Golden Bear achieving NSCAA All-Pacific honors and named to the Pac-12 All-Academic Team three times, also distinguished by Soccer America’s Freshman All-America honors.

“Adding a player with Ify’s international pedigree and experience within the League marks yet another milestone as we build out this roster, said URFC Sporting Director Kelly Cousins. “We expect her and the other veterans to implement Amy’s vision and accelerate the buy-in for our cultural development, on and off the pitch.”

Utah Royals FC will see its players report to the Zions Bank Training Center in Herriman, Utah, in late January, with the 2024 NWSL reg. season kicking off on March 16. Here’s Utah’s 15-player roster by position – along with each player’s 2023 NWSL side – as it currently stands ahead of the January 12 NWSL Draft:

  • GK: Mandy Haught (Gotham FC), Carly Nelson (Orlando Pride)
  • DF: Kaleigh Riehl (San Diego Wave), Madison Pogarch (San Diego Wave), Kate Del Fava (KC Current), Addisyn Merrick (KC Current)
  • MF: Mikayla Cluff (Orlando Pride), Michele Vasconcelos (Portland Thorns), Emily Gray (North Carolina Courage), Frankie Tagliaferri (North Carolina Courage)
  • FW: Hannah Betfort (Portland Thorns), Imani Dorsey (Gotham FC), Paige Monaghan (Racing Louisville), Ify Onumonu (Gotham FC), Cameron Tucker (Houston Dash)

The 2024 NWSL Draft, presented by Ally, will take place Friday, January 12 at 6 p.m. MT during the United Soccer Coaches Convention at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. For the full list of draft rules and procedures, please click here.

Currently, Utah Royals FC’s 2024 draft picks (round / overall) are as follows:

1st Round – No. 1, No. 4 (KC)

2nd Round – No. 16, No. 20 (WAS), No. 21 (WAS), No. 26 (ORL)

3rd Round – No. 29, No. 33 (POR)

4th Round – No. 44

Live coverage of the 2024 NWSL Draft, presented by Ally, will be televised on ION from 6 to 8 p.m. MT. All rounds of the draft will be streamed on ION Plus. Viewers can find access to ION in their area by visiting https://iontelevision.com/find-us.