HERRIMAN, Utah (Mon., Nov. 20, 2023) – Utah Royals FC acquired veteran NWSL DF Kaleigh Riehl from San Diego Wave FC in exchange for $60,000 in Allocation Money and expansion protection. With its second trade of the Club’s second era, URFC acquires the 2023 NWSL Shield-winner, with the 27-year-old Riehl appearing in 19 of San Diego’s 22 matches during the most recent season, starting 18.
“I’m incredibly excited to join Utah Royals FC – I can’t wait to bring women’s professional soccer back to Utah,” said Riehl, selected a year ago as one of San Diego’s expansion picks. “(Royals Head Coach) Amy Rodriguez has an immense amount of knowledge and experience in the game and I can’t wait to learn from her and her staff. I’m looking forward to competing with my teammates every day and contributing to this Club in any and every way I can. I’m also looking forward to getting to know the city, the fans and the community – everyone who makes this place special.”
Utah continues its roster-building process for its expansion 2024 season with Riehl, who made her NWSL debut for Sky Blue FC against the first iteration of the Royals at the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup back on July 4, 2020. Riehl was selected by Louisville at the end of her rookie season in the 2021 expansion draft, appearing in 21 matches for Racing in the 2021 season.
Utah Royals FC are set to return to the NWSL as a 2024 expansion side, along with Northern California’s Bay FC. The 2024 NWSL Expansion Draft, presented by Ally, is set to be held on Friday, Dec. 15, beginning at 5:00 p.m. MT, with Utah Royals FC currently slated to select No. 2 overall. Fans can watch LIVE on CBS Sports Network as the two expansion sides can select up to 12 players each, with additional coverage via CBS Sports Golazo and the “Attacking Third” show & social accounts.
“Both Kelly (Cousins, URFC Sporting Director) and myself are excited to welcome Riehl to the Club,” said Utah Head Coach Amy Rodriguez, amidst various transactions and impending free agency signings as part of the Club’s recruitment efforts. “I have no doubt that these players will put their blood, sweat and tears into this team. As we build Utah Royals FC from scratch, these are precisely the type of players that you want – ones that will bring not just talent but also a relentlessness to roll up their sleeves up and get to work.”
A native of Fairfax Station, Virginia, the 27-year-old Riehl brings a pedigree of success to Utah’s expansion side, winning an NCAA Division I title with Penn State in 2015, and being honored as the Big Ten Defender of the Year in 2018. During her collegiate career, Riehl set an NCAA record for minutes played by an outfield player with 8,847 across 101 appearances. A perennial U.S. Youth National Team inclusion, starring for the U.S. U-18, U-20 and U-23 sides during her career, Riehl redshirted one season at Penn State in 2016, starting six times that year for the Stars-and-Stripes at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
TRANSACTION: Utah Royals FC acquires DF Kaleigh Riehl from San Diego Wave FC in exchange for $60,000 in Allocation Money and 2024 expansion protection from Utah Royals FC.