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URFC Prepares For Friday's 2024 NWSL Draft

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SANDY, UTAH (Thursday, January 11, 2024) – Utah Royals FC President Michelle Hyncik today invites local Utah media to attend the Club’s Draft Party Friday evening from 5:00 p.m. MT in the second-floor Interform Club at America First Field, while also introducing two members of the URFC staff which have been critical in both the roster build and draft preparation in support of Head Coach Amy Rodriguez and Sporting Director Kelly Cousins.

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. A total of 236 players are eligible for selection Friday, with 56 total picks in the draft and 14 selections in each of the four rounds. The National Women's Soccer League has shared a league media guide containing the final draft registration list, draft history by club, rules and procedures, and other notable information. 

Media members may access the media guide 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

“As we prepare for Friday’s festivities, I want to acknowledge the hard work and detailed preparation of two people – Mirelle Van Rijbroek and Caterina De Bacco – who have been invaluable to our talent identification in the last several months, and will certainly play a massive role as we grow and move forward,” said Hyncik. “Both have been incredibly valuable as our Club gets up and running for our NWSL return; on behalf of Amy and Kelly, as well as Ownership, we are grateful for their efforts as we scour the globe and build this roster with every available mechanism for 2024 and beyond.”

Van Rijbroek serves Utah Royals FC as the Club’s Director of Talent, Strategy and Development, a Dutch citizen who has worked in scouting and talent development within Federation environments in both the Netherlands (2008-17) and the U.S. (2017-23). Van Rijbroek’s strong track record with U.S. Youth National Teams and extensive knowledge of the domestic player pool has been integral to developing Utah Royals FC’s player strategy. 

Now based in Utah full-time, Van Rijbroek is an UEFA A licensed coach and a former player in Netherlands and Australia. During her time with U.S. Soccer (2017-23), Van Rijbroek served as the Director of Talent Identification for the Women’s Youth National Teams (U-14 through U-23s) and ran various ID/training camps for each age group. She also oversaw regional scouts, developed processes for monitoring players, determined age-specific international benchmarks and measures progress, coordinated with national team coaches and plavers' home clubs to deliver individual development plans. The highly-respected Van Rijbroek also has experience providing opposition scouting for national team coaching staffs, while teaching various courses and mentoring in both scouting and talent identification.

Based in Europe and working with several Club’s under the Blitzer umbrella, De Bacco has utilized her expertise for the Utah Royals launch by identifying and recruiting players using multiple data platforms. In support of Rodrigez and Cousins, Catarina has prepared, delivered and presented candidate biographies and reports for players of various ages, levels and experience. 

De Bacco’s drafting of periodic data reports and analysis have been integral to the ongoing roster build, while her preparation of technical reports for the Club with detailed findings across global professional leagues is a critical step in each recruitment decision. De Bacco has also provided invaluable analysis and complied essential reports on targeted players.

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 17-player roster by position – along with each player’s 2023 side – as it currently stands ahead of Friday’s 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), Agnes Nybert (IK Uppsala – Sweden), Dana Foederer (Fortuna Sittard – Netherlands)
  • FW: Hannah Betfort (Portland Thorns), Imani Dorsey (Gotham FC), Paige Monaghan (Racing Louisville), Ify Onumonu (Gotham FC), Cameron Tucker (Houston Dash)