Christen Press signed with Angel City FC on Monday, making her the expansion team’s first rostered player, the team and National Women’s Soccer League announced.
A U.S. women’s national team veteran, Press has played professionally for 10 years – both stateside and abroad. Besides competing for the USWNT, she spent the 2020-21 season in Europe playing for Manchester City W.F.C. in the Women’s Super League. She previously played for the Utah Royals FC and Chicago Red Stars in the NWSL.
Press is a native of Los Angeles, where Angel City FC is located. The expansion team will make its NWSL debut in the spring of 2022.
“The dream of being a pro player in L.A. was always elusive for me,” Press said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “Every team that I’ve played for has always been like, ‘You know, when L.A. gets a team, we promise we’ll send you there.’ And it always felt everyone’s been able to say that because no one knew when it was happening.”
Angel City acquired the rights to Press through a trade with Racing Louisville FC. In return for Press, Louisville received ACFC’s first-round pick in the 2022 NWSL draft, $75,000 in allocation money and roster protection from ACFC during the 2021 NWSL expansion draft.
According to the LA Times, Press’ contract is for two years with an optional third-year that could bring her payout to $550,000. That sum would make Press one of the highest-paid players in NWSL history.
Press had made 163 appearances for the national team, scoring 63 goals and appearing in two World Cups (2015, 2019) and two Summer Olympics (2016, 2020). She scored her first Olympic goal in Tokyo during the USWNT’s match against New Zealand. In the NWSL, Press has scored 46 goals in 88 appearances.
ACFC also announced its first head coach Monday. Freya Coombe, the current head coach of NY/NJ Gotham FC, will transition to coaching Angel City after the conclusion of the 2021 season. Robert Udberg was hired as assistant head coach and performance director.
“I think everyone has been watching the story of Angel City unfold and I have been very impressed with the direction of the club and the core values upon which it is built,” Coombe said in an ACFC press release.
Angel City FC was founded by actress Natalie Portman, former USWNT star Abby Wambach, Julie Uhrman, Kara Nortman and Alexis Ohanian, husband of Serena Williams. The ownership group is the first in soccer to be comprised primarily of women and features some of the biggest names in Hollywood, sports and technology.
There is no date set for Angel City FC’s debut, but 2022 season tickets are already on sale. ACFC’s 12 home games will be played at Banc of California Stadium.
Contact Emily Leiker at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @emleiker