HERRIMAN, Utah (Wed., Nov. 15, 2023) – Utah Royals FC acquired former BYU star MF Mikayla Cluff and the No. 26 pick in the 2024 NWSL Draft in exchange for $90,000 in Allocation Money and expansion protection. With the initial trade of the Club’s second era, URFC kicks off the roster-building process for its expansion 2024 season by bringing home the Kaysville, Utah native Cluff, formerly the No. 14 pick in the 2021 NWSL draft and a veteran of 51 NWSL appearances, including four goals and one assist for Orlando.
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. 1 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.
“While I’ve enjoyed my time in Orlando over the last two seasons, I’m extremely excited to return to play in my hometown and bring back this Club for the state and for the fans,” said Cluff, signed to Royals FC through 2025 and already back in Utah to prepare for the upcoming NWSL season. “I’m very thankful for my time with the Pride, and I wish them luck, but now I’m focused on working with the legend (Royals FC Head Coach) Amy Rodriguez to bring a championship to Utah.”
A native of Kaysville, Utah, Cluff returns to Utah home, where she starred collegiately at Brigham Young University. One of the most decorated players in Cougar history, Cluff started every game but two over the course of her BYU career, helping lead the team to the 2021 NCAA Championship game. Individually, she was named WCC Player of the Year three times, while earning the 2021 WCC Offensive Player of the Year honor while also being named a 2021 Hermann Trophy finalist.
“We’re so excited to welcome Mikayla back to Utah,” said URFC Head Coach Amy Rodriguez. “A player who has had so much success in the state at both the collegiate and high school level and has now shown to be an excellent NWSL player. She offers versatility in the midfield, which is so valuable in an expansion year. When evaluating players, we also put a big emphasis on their character and Mikayla is a great first step in building the culture we want in our locker room. We know how much she is loved in this state, and we can't wait for our fans to cheer her on in Utah again."
During her two-season NWSL career, Cluff has made 51 appearances across all competitions as a member of the Pride, totaling four goals and one assist. The No. 14 overall selection in the 2021 NWSL Draft, Cluff scored her first goal as a professional on May 18, 2022, a game-winner against North Carolina. Cluff went on to score two more goals this season for Orlando, one in a 3-1 victory over San Diego and another in a 5-0 rout of Chicago.
“Bringing Kayla home is a key first step as we build out the 2024 roster,” said URFC Sporting Director Kelly Cousins. “Obviously her pedigree as a player in this league is only augmented by her Utah roots and BYU success. We are elated to welcome her home, we know our fans cannot wait to fill America First Field and cheer on Utah’s own, and we look forward to several more player announcements in the coming days and weeks.”
TRANSACTION:Utah Royals FC acquires MF Mikayla Cluff and the No. 26 overall selection in the 2024 NWSL Draft from Orlando Pride in exchange for $90,000 in Allocation Money and 2024 expansion protection from Utah Royals FC.
KEY UPCOMING NWSL DATES:
- Sun, Nov. 19 – NWSL Trade Window Closes
- Mon., Nov. 20 – NWSL Free Agency Opens
- Tues., Nov. 21 – Waiver Wire Commences
- Wed., Nov. 22 – Waiver Wire Concludes
- Tues., Dec. 12 – Transaction Moratorium Begins;
- Protected/Unprotected player lists distributed to Utah Royals FC / Bay FC
- Fri., Dec. 15 – Expansion Draft
- Sat., Dec. 16 – Transaction Moratorium Ends