Utah Royals sign decorated free agent defender

Defender Madison Pogarch is under contract for the 2024 and 2025 seasons.

The Utah Royals just signed a defender with plenty of other accolades to her name.

The Utah Royals FC on Thursday announced it signed free agent defender Madison Pogarch for the 2024 and 2025 seasons.

“In talking to [coach] Amy [Rodriguez], the conversations that we have had stem from her being super-competitive, obviously wanting to do whatever it takes to win from the get-go,” Pogarch said in a statement. “Nothing about this setup feels like an expansion team to me, as everyone I’ve talked to around the team is ready to hit the ground running, and that’s exciting.”

Pogarch entered the NWSL in 2019 with the Portland Thorns, who won the Community Shield in 2020 and the NWSL Challenge Cup, International Champions Cup and NWSL Shield in 2021. She was a member of the 2023 San Diego Wave FC team that won the Shield, which goes to the team with the most points in the regular season.

“Madison’s effusive attitude has contributed mightily to winning atmospheres throughout her journey, and we look to her to help us create that positive, winning, supportive culture in our locker room, in training every day and in the community,” Sporting Director Kelly Cousins said in a statement.

Pogarch is the seventh player acquired by the expansion Royals. Among those players are former BYU standouts Michele Vasconcelos and Mikayla Cluff. They also picked up Kaleigh Riehl from San Diego Wave FC, and Emily Gray and Francesca Tagliaferri from the North Carolina Courage. Imany Dorsey joined the Royals as a free agent late last month.

The NWSL Expansion Draft is on Dec. 15.