Utah Royals announce roster decisions for 2021 season

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Royals FC forward Amy Rodriguez (8) goes for the ball along with Portland Thorns FC defender Emily Menges (5), in soccer action between Utah Royals FC and Portland Thorns FC at Rio Tinto Stadium, on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020.

Utah Royals FC’s roster stands at 23 after the club announced Friday which players it was bringing back and hopes to bring back for 2021.

The Royals picked up contract options for 10 players, including Tziarra King, Kate Del Fava and Elizabeth Ball, all of whom are young pieces who showed out in the coronavirus pandemic version of 2020. Mallory Weber, Lo’eau LaBonta, Taylor Lytle, Katie Bowen, Taylor Leach, Gunny Jónsdóttir and Nicole Barnhart will also return next season.

The club also extended new contract offers to some of their core players such as Amy Rodriguez, Vero Boquete and Abby Smith. Boquete has reportedly sought after by AC Milan, but she recently told The Salt Lake Tribune that she didn’t know what her future held.

Michelle Maemone, Maddie Nolf, Gaby Vincent, Brittany Ratcliffe, Arielle Ship, Raisa Strom-Okimoto and Michele Vasconcelos were also extended contact offers.

U.S. Women’s National Team star Kelley O’Hara remains on Utah’s roster, as do Canada women’s team staples Desiree Scott and Diana Matheson. The Royals retain the rights to Aminata Diallo, whose loan ends at the end of the year, and Christen Press, who signed with Manchester United in September.

Rachel Corsie signed a contract extension with the Royals in August.

Three players won’t return next season. They are Chestly Strother, Melissa Lowder and Marissa Sheva. None of those players got much playing time in 2020, although Lowder did start a game at goalkeeper in the National Womens' Soccer League Fall Series.