Cancun, Mexico (Saturday, February 3, 2024) - Utah Royals FC finished up the Club’s first week in Mexico with an intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday morning.
Three key takeaways from the final day in Cancun:
- Rookies Shine In Scrimmage
With seven rookies from the 2024 NWSL Draft on the Club’s preseason roster, Utah Royals FC have shown it is committed to investing in youth. So far it’s paid off.
The drafts’ No. 1 overall pick Ally Sentnor didn’t disappoint on Saturday. The forward helped justify her lofty selection with two assists to Hannah Betfort and Michele Vasconcelos as well as creating multiple chances for herself. Sentnor also proved to be invaluable on the defensive side of the ball, her aggressive nature forcing multiple turnovers high up the pitch.
Defender Olivia Griffitts also had a stellar performance, showcasing her defensive ability with multiple recovery runs to snuff out opposing attacks. The cohesive team press allowed her to utilize her speed in attack, and which allowed her to create chances for her teammates.
- Two Young Internationals Bring Stability and Steel to Midfield
In their first week with the team, the talents of Dana Foederer (Netherlands) and Agnes Nyberg (Sweden) were on full display.
Head Coach Amy Rodriguez has instilled a desire to maintain possession into her team, and the two young midfielders brought composure and a certain silkiness to the match with the ball. Not only was their talent on the ball apparent, but they displayed tenacity and toughness in their commitment to winning the ball back, which should be key for the squad throughout the season.
- Things Are Coming Together
From the opening whistle, it became obvious that this team has been working tirelessly to implement the vision that their staff has for them.
Rapid ball movement combined with crisp passes created musical rhythm, appropriate for the tropical setting. Over-communication was key as the Royals steadily built chemistry, and the players’ voices rang out across the field. Defenders Addisyn Merrick and Kaleigh Riehl along with goalkeeper Mandy Haught were the most vocal as they organized their teammates in front of them. Just two weeks into preseason, spirits are high and the squad is coming together on and off the pitch.
Utah Royals FC will continue its preseason preparations upon this week’s return to Utah, in anticipation of the season/home opener against Chicago Red Stars on Saturday, March 16.
Get your tickets for the relaunch of the Utah Royals at https://www.rsl.com/utahroyals/tickets/.