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URFC Select Seven Players in 2024 NWSL Draft

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ANAHEIM, CALIF. / SANDY, UTAH (Friday, January 11, 2024) – Utah Royals FC tonight selected seven new players at the 2024 NWSL Draft, presented by Ally, during the United Soccer Coaches Convention at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. Led by Head Coach Amy Rodriguez and Sporting Director Kelly Cousins, supported by President Michelle Hyncik, Director of Talent, Strategy & Development Mirelle Van Rijbroek and Recruitment Analyst Caterina De Bacco, Utah Royals FC now boasts a 24-player roster as preseason kicks off later this month.

The URFC braintrust selected North Carolina Tar Heel and current U.S.A. U-20 FW Ally Sentnor first overall, while ensuring that Sandy, Utah native FW Brecken Mozingo – raised in the shadow of America First Field and a former Alta High School star – stayed home following her collegiate career at Brigham Young University. Cougar firebrand Mozingo was taken fourth overall, completing the expansion side’s first-round selections.

Utah opened the second round by tapping into the promise shown from Florida State DF Lauren Flynn, as the NCAA powerhouse recently ended BYU’s 2023 Final Four run. The very active second round also saw Royals FC select Eagle, Idaho native Olivia Smith-Griffitts – the second BYU selection of the night and the fifth former Cougar to land on Utah’s NWSL roster – as well as Wisconsin M/F Emma Jaskaniec. Utah also traded the No. 21 overall pick to Houston Dynamo in exchange for $120,000 in Allocation Money.

The third round found the Royals bolstering depth with a pair of international players who have enjoyed great NCAA success, as Canadian D/M Zoe Burns became the first former University of Southern California Trojan to reunite with former assistant Rodriguez, while Puerto Rican GK Cristina Roque added additional Seminole championship flair and pedigree to the inaugural URFC roster.

Utah traded the 44th overall pick to Angel City in exchange for $15,000 in Allocation Money.

CHAMPION SEMINOLES: Flynn and Roque will rejoin forces in Salt Lake City, Utah, this season as both players were selected by Utah Royals FC, entering its first season in the NWSL. Flynn was picked with the second pick in the second round (16th pick overall) to give FSU their second draftee of the night. Flynn played in 79 games while making 70 starts for the Seminoles over the course of her career. Flynn ended her career with seven goals and three assists, five of those goals which came in 2023. 

Roque was the second goalkeeper to be taken off the board as she was picked in the third round with the 33rd overall pick. In 67 games as a Seminoles, Roque allowed just 0.67 goals per game. Roque ended her career with a terrific record in goal with 59 wins, six draws and just two losses. Roque ended her career as the FSU all-time record holder in both wins and shutouts in the NCAA Tournament.

ONE OF ONE: First overall pick Ally Sentnor – whose U.S. Soccer bio is HERE and UNC Tar Heels bio is HERE – is regarded as one of the top attacking talents in the nation, as the Hanson, Mass., native will soon arrive in Utah for Royals FC’s “Return of Royalty” 2024 relaunch, with preseason starting the last week of January and the Royals’ “inaugural” season kicking off the weekend of March 16.

A total of 236 players (including 14 with Utah ties, and 8 from BYU) were eligible for selection tonight, with 56 total picks in the draft and 14 selections in each of the four rounds. The National Women's Soccer League media guide containing the final draft registration list, draft history by club, rules and procedures, and other notable information is HERE

In summary, Utah Royals FC’s 2024 draft picks (round / overall) and related transactions were as follows:

1st Round – No. 1 (MF Ally Sentnor – North Carolina); No. 4 (from KC; FW Brecken Mozinga – BYU)

2nd Round – No. 16 (DF Lauren Flynn – Florida State), No. 20 (from WAS; DF Olivia Smith-Griffitts – BYU), 

       No. 21 (from WAS – traded to HOU in exchange for $120,000 in allocation), 

       No. 26 (from ORL; M/F Emma Jaskaniec – Wisconsin)

3rd Round – No. 29 (D/M Zoe Burns – Southern Cal), No. 33 (from POR; GK Cristina Roque – Florida State)

4th Round – No. 44 (traded to Angel City in exchange for $15,000 in allocation)

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 current 24-player roster by position – along with each player’s 2023 side – as it currently stands after Friday’s NWSL Draft (tonight’s college selections in RED): 

  • GK: Mandy Haught (Gotham FC), Carly Nelson (Orlando Pride), Cristina Roque (Florida State)
  • DF: Kaleigh Riehl (San Diego Wave), Madison Pogarch (San Diego Wave), Kate Del Fava (KC Current), Addisyn Merrick (KC Current), Lauren Flynn (Florida State), Olivia Smith-Griffitts (BYU), Zoe Burns (Southern Cal)
  • 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), Ally Sentnor (Univ. of North Carolina), Emma Jaskaniec (Wisconsin)
  • FW: Hannah Betfort (Portland Thorns), Imani Dorsey (Gotham FC), Paige Monaghan (Racing Louisville), Ify Onumonu (Gotham FC), Cameron Tucker (Houston Dash), Brecken Mozingo (Brigham Young Univ.)