Three Utah Royals FC players return after stints in the Women’s World Cup for New Zealand, Canada and Scotland

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Royals FC midfielder Desiree Scott (11) collides with Portland Thorns FC midfielder Lindsey Horan (10), in soccer action between Utah Royals FC and Portland Thorns FC, at Rio Tinto Stadium, Saturday, April 28, 2018.

Sandy • When Katie Bowen, Desiree Scott and Rachel Corsie embarked on the journey that was the Women’s World Cup with their respective national teams, each thought their squads had the opportunity to make a deep run in the tournament.

Instead, Bowen’s New Zealand, Scott’s Canada and Corsie’s Scotland were all eliminated sooner than they thought, while the United States team captured its second consecutive World Cup title.

Now all three players are back with the Utah Royals FC and could see action as early as this Friday against Sky Blue FC in New Jersey. But their return seems to have a bittersweet element to it.

“It was a disappointing experience,” Bowen said Tuesday. “It was fun at the same time, but tough. Obviously playing in a World Cup is always going to be a privilege. A lot of people would kind of kill to be there, so I don’t take that lightly. Unfortunately we didn’t get the results that we wanted.”


Friday, 5:30 p.m. MDT

Neither New Zealand or Scotland made it out of the group phase. Canada qualified for the knockout phase, but lost 1-0 to Sweden.

Scott said she felt frustrated to be back in the states so soon, but happy to be back with her club team. She said playing in a World Cup is a special feeling regardless of how many times a players has competed in one.

“We had high expectations going in,” Scott said of the Canadian team. “Obviously everyone wants to go and win a World Cup, but I think we definitely felt we could get out of our group, make it to a semifinal. This is the most confident I think Canada has been in a long time. So we’re definitely disappointed with not making it further.”

Perhaps no one felt the sting of getting eliminated so soon more than Corsie, who was competing in her first-ever World Cup. It was also the first time Scotland had ever qualified for the tournament.

Scotland led 3-0 over Argentina in the last game of Group D play. But Argentina staged a comeback and earned a draw after a controversial call by the video assist referee. Just like that, Scotland was out, and Corsie was devastated. She said in the moment, the feeling was surreal, but she tried to console her teammates and be strong for them.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Royals FC defender Katie Bowen (6) controls the ball, as Seattle Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe (15) defends, in soccer action between Utah Royals FC and Seattle Reign FC, at Rio Tinto Stadium, Wednesday, June 27, 2018.

Corsie said that after some healing time, the team will take the experience as a positive moving forward.

“Ultimately we didn’t achieve what we went out to achieve,” Corsie said. “I think failure is a feeling that, as an athlete, is one of the hardest things. But these obstacles and these hard moments hopefully are worth it for then what comes to follow.”

The experiences of the three Royals players weren’t all negative. Corsie said that while in Nice, she bumped into several Scotland fans who traveled to support the team. That was a pleasant surprise.

“For us to have people traveling to games is something that’s new. We were so encouraged by that,” Corsie said. “It’s something that will be a huge part in history and as players, we have to take on the responsibility as a platform to go further.”

The World Cup was mired in some controversy, whether it was about how the U.S. celebrated in its 13-0 win over Thailand, or the many of the decisions made by VAR. Scott said she was on the fence about both issues, particularly with VAR, which was introduced in the women’s tournament for the first time.

“I’m still on the fence with VAR,” Scott said. “It depends on what side you’re at. Sometimes it catches things. In our game against Sweden, we got a PK called for it. So in that moment, I’m applauding it. But yeah, I’m on the fence with it. I don’t love it.”