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Royals FC forward Christen Press headed to Manchester United, but Utah keeps her NWSL rights

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Royals FC forward Christen Press (23) celebrates her second goal as the Utah Royals FC host Sky Blue FC, August 7, 2019 at Rio Tinto Stadium.

The Utah Royals FC have lost another U.S. Women’s National Team Star.

Forward Christen Press signed a contract with Manchester United, the club announced Wednesday. The club retains Press’s rights in the National Women’s Soccer League.

The Royals this offseason also traded defender Becky Sauerbrunn to the Portland Thorns for Elizabeth Ball and allocation money. A trade involving defender Kelley O’Hara, reported by The Athletic, appeared to be in the works recently but has not materialized.

Press played two and a half years in Utah after getting traded there from the Chicago Red Stars in June 2018. She appeared in 25 games in which she scored 10 goals and added four assists.

Earlier this year, Press — along with defender Kelley O’Hara — was named Pro Female Athlete of the Year by the Utah Sports Commission. Last season, Press was named NWSL Player of the Month once and earned a place on the Best XI for the fourth time in her career.

Press decided not to participate in the NWSL Challenge Cup, which was hosted by the Royals.

The move of Press to Manchester United was reported previously by the Philadelphia Inquirer. USWNT Tobin Heath also signed with the English club. Both moves were officially announced Wednesday.

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