URFC Latest News

Utah Royals FC Sends Elyse Bennett To San Diego

HERRIMAN, Utah (Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023) – Utah Royals FC today finalized the destination of former OL Reign FW Elyse Bennett, sending Friday’s expansion selection to San Diego Wave FC in exchange for $40,000 in Allocation Money.

During an early timeout in Friday’s NWSL Expansion Draft, Utah’s first expansion selection and second overall following Bay FC’s pick, Utah Royals FC discussed with both Bennett and San Diego a potential transaction for the 23-year-old striker entering her third NWSL campaign. The former Washington State product hails from Lake Forest, Ill., and boasts five goals in 46 career NWSL contests with KC Current (2022) and OL Reign (2023). Bennett was drafted seventh overall in 2022 by Kansas City.

The NWSL transaction moratorium officially ended Saturday morning, at which time clubs can resume signings of both restricted and unrestricted free agents, as well as the conduction of trades by which to bolster the 2024 preseason roster.

In Friday’s draft, URFC also selected FW Paige Monaghan from Racing Louisville FC (fourth overall), a five-year NWSL veteran with 79 appearances for Gotham FC (2019-22) and Racing (2023), scoring nine goals in her professional career. Monaghan was selected 10th overall in the 2019 draft by Sky Blue FC (neé Gotham FC) out of Butler University, the Succasunna, N.J. native the first-ever Bulldog drafted into the NWSL.

Utah Royals FC passed on the sixth, eighth and 10th overall selections.

Earlier this week, a series of transactions were announced by Sporting Director Kelly Cousins on behalf of the Club, positioning URFC for Friday’s draft with a combination of players celebrating Utah homecomings, young NWSL players seeking new opportunities, and various mechanisms added to the club arsenal as Utah builds its roster with new Head Coach Amy Rodriguez.

Here’s Utah’s roster by position – along with each player’s 2023 NWSL side – as it currently stands:

  • 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)
  • MF: Mikayla Cluff (Orlando Pride), Michele Vasconcelos (Portland Thorns), Emily Gray (North Carolina Courage), Frankie Tagliaferri (North Carolina Courage)
  • FW: Hannah Betford (Portland Thorns), Imani Dorsey (Gotham FC), Paige Monaghan (Racing Louisville), 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.


No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Birthdate Age Hometown College Status INTL

-- Hannah Betfort FW 5-10 4 Jan 1999 24 Charleston, SC Wake Forest

-- Mikayla Cluff FW 5-8 25 Feb 1999 24 Kaysville, UT Brigham Young

-- Kate Del Fava DF 5-9 23 July 1998 25 Kenosha, WI Illinois State

-- Imani Dorsey FW 5-7 21 Mar 1996 27 Elkridge, MD Duke

-- Emily Gray MF 5-4 5 Oct 2000 23 Sewell, NJ Virginia Tech

-- Mandy Haught GK 5-9 3 Nov 1998 25 Jacksonville, FL Virginia Tech

-- Paige Monaghan FW 5-7 13 Nov 1996 27 Succasanna, NJ Butler

-- Carly Nelson GK 5-6 11 Feb 1998 25 Lindon, UT Utah

-- Madison Pogarch DF 5-6 5 Nov 1997 26 Hartland, MI Central Michigan

-- Kayleigh Riehl DF 5-8 21 Oct 1996 27 Fairfax Station, VA Penn State

-- Frankie Tagliaferri MF 5-6 18 Jan 1999 24 Red Bank, NJ Rutgers (Penn St)

-- Cameron Tucker FW 5-9 15 July 1999 24 Highland, UT Brigham Young

-- Michele Vasconcelos FW 5-5 11 May 1994 29 Sandy, UT Brigham Young


  • Fri., Jan. 12 – NWSL Draft, presented by Ally
  • Mon., Jan. 22 – Earliest possible preseason report date
  • Mon., Jan. 29 – Latest possible preseason report date
  • Fri., March 15 – NWSL Challenge Cup – Gotham FC v San Diego Wave FC
  • Sat., March 16 – NWSL Regular Season Kicks Off
  • Mon., July 8 – Sun., July 14 – CBA-mandated League Break
  • Mon., July 15 – Sun., Aug. 18 – Reg. Season Hiatus Due to Paris 2024 Summer Olympics
  • Fri., July 19 – Sun., July 21 – Summer Tournament Kickoff
  • Nov. 9/10 – NWSL Playoff Quarterfinal Stage
  • Nov. 16/17 – NWSL Playoff Semifinals
  • Nov. 23 – NWSL Championship 2024


For the 2024 season and beyond, Real Salt Lake’s Blitzer / Smith ownership groups have partnered to bring the National Women’s Soccer League back to Utah, as Utah Royals FC return in the Spring. Led by Head Coach Amy Rodriguez, President Michelle Hyncik and Sporting Director Kelly Cousins, URFC aims to seize upon the success the NWSL enjoyed during its first iteration on the Wasatch Front from 2018-20 and grow the game to even greater heights going forward. Led by visionary sports business entrepreneur Jess Gelman – the founder of the Sloan Sports Analytics Institute, along with innovative NBA executive Daryl Morey – Utah Royals FC blazes new trails in 2024.

2024 Utah Royals FC Full-Season Ticket Packages NOW ON SALE at www.UtahRoyalsFC.com or by calling 844.Real.Tix.