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Angel City FC acquire NWSL rights to star forward Christen Press

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The USWNT star is coming home.

United States v Australia: Bronze Medal Match Women’s Football - Olympics: Day 13 Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images

The NWSL announced on Monday that Angel City FC have acquired the player rights of forward Christen Press, in a trade with Racing Louisville. In exchange for Press’ NWSL rights, Racing acquire Angel City’s 2022 natural first-round NWSL Draft pick (likely to be No. 1 or No. 2 overall), $75,000 in allocation money, and an agreement that Angel City will acquire no Racing players in the Expansion Draft set to take place in December.

Press had been linked in credible reports to Angel City on Sunday, with the Los Angeles TimesKevin Baxter reporting the club will sign her for two years and an option on a third season, and if she stays for a full three years her salary will be around $550,000 over the life of the contract.

“For it to really be happening, to be able to bring professional soccer back to Los Angeles and to be a part of that team, is nothing but a dream come true,” she said in the Times’ story. “A dream that didn’t even feel possible for the majority of my career.”

The move is a blockbuster one, for one of the most coveted players in the NWSL. Press grew up in the Los Angeles region, and given her itinerant journey the past several years of her career, she seemed like the best bet to be the superstar Angel City FC would try to build around.

Press began her professional career out of Stanford in 2011 in WPS with magicJack. After that league imploded after that season, she played in Sweden for three years before joining the Chicago Red Stars in the NWSL in 2014. After three seasons there, she was traded in NWSL, but opted to play in Sweden again, before returning stateside and playing for parts of two seasons with the Utah Royals. Opting out of the 2020 NWSL season altogether, Press went to play for Manchester United last season and is currently a free agent. Racing Louisville had her NWSL rights by selecting them in last year’s expansion draft, although few expected she would play for the club. Instead, Racing used the selection as a way to flip for more assets, and if they make good use of the draft pick they get, it could be a very savvy move in the long run.

At the same time, Angel City can get more value from having an in-her-prime superstar, and a local one at that, and so this deal makes sense as long as Press is healthy and in form. It sounds like she genuinely wants to play for Angel City, which is half the battle, and the big star that many were hoping to see now have their wish granted.

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