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Tuesday Roundup: A-Rod to play for Royals, Pride acquire Poliana

Amy Rodriguez will play for the Utah Royals this season. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Amy Rodriguez will play the 2018 season for Utah Royals FC. Rodriguez, who turned 30 last month, has been seldom seen on the soccer pitch over the last two years. She sat out 2016 to have her second child, and tore her ACL in her first game back for FC Kansas City last April. She also made one brief appearance for the United States before the NWSL opener.

“I couldn’t be more excited for the upcoming NWSL season,” Rodriguez said. “I can’t wait to put on the Utah Royals FC jersey and get back on the soccer field again.”

Rodriguez was an original allocation from U.S. Soccer, to Seattle Reign FC, when the league launched in 2013. That was the year Rodriguez had her first child. She sat out the 2013 season and never suited up for the Reign. Instead the club traded her to FC Kansas City where she scored all three goals against the Reign in back-to-back NWSL Championship wins in 2014 and 2015.

“I’m so excited to finally have her on my team and not have to watch her play against me, as she has always haunted my teams,” Royals head coach Laura Harvey, who was the Reign coach the last five years, said.

In her two full seasons in Kansas City, Rodriguez netted 19 goals in 33 regular season matches, and she added a 20th on opening day 2017 before injuring her knee. In four playoff games for the Blues, Rodriguez scored in all of them, totaling six goals.

FC Kansas City were dissolved last fall and player contracts transferred to NWSL control and then to the Royals, who started up a fresh franchise. The club has announced players over time and traded several before announcing them as part of the team for 2018.

“We are excited to get Amy into Salt Lake and help finish off her rehabilitation so she can again show what a huge talent she is,” Harvey said.

Pride acquire Poliana from Dash for 2nd round pick

The Orlando Pride have acquired Poliana from the Houston Dash in exchange for the club’s 2nd round pick in 2019. Poliana then signed her contract to play for the Pride in 2018.

“Poliana is a player that we have admired since she joined the league,” Pride head coach Tom Sermanni, who like Poliana started in NWSL in 2016, said. “We believe she has been one of Houston’s best, most consistent players during that time,”

Sermanni noted that Poliana, who was traded on her 27th birthday, plays fullback as her primary position but is capable of being a versatile cog on the field.

“She’s intelligent, her ability to read the game is phenomenal. As well as outstanding defensive qualities, she also has the skill to get forward and score goals. She has all the characteristics we look for at our club. I think she is an ideal fit for the Pride.”

The trade also leaves the Pride in a familiar position for 2019—without a 1st or 2nd round pick. The additional pick is the first time the Dash have made a trade involving the 2019 draft.

Boquete heads to China

Former Portland Thorns midfielder Vero Boquete is the latest soccer player to head for the Chinese Women’s Super League, following in the footsteps of former Paris Saint-Germain teammates Cristiane and Shirley Cruz. At Beijing BG, she will be reunited with coach Kim Bjorkegren, under whom she played at Tyreso FF in Sweden. Boquete’s minutes at PSG had been dwindling, leading her to seek a new home. This will be the seventh country in which she has played, after Sweden, Spain, France, Russia, Germany, and the US, where she played for the Philadelphia Independence, Buffalo Flash, and Chicago Red Stars in previous leagues before joining Portland for their 2014 NWSL playoff run.

Boquete has played for Spain’s women’s national team since 2005, captaining the squad during the 2015 Women’s World Cup. However, she has not been called up since the 2017 Algarve Cup, which Spain won.

Reign partner with Force 10 Sports Management

The Seattle Reign have announced a new partnership with Force 10 Sports Management to manage ticket sales and customer service for the club in 2018. The company is owned by Force 10 Enterprises, which also owns Force 10 Hoops, the ownership group of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm. All non-ticketing aspects of the club will continue to be operated by the Reign staff, and Reign staff previously assigned to ticket sales have been reassigned.

“We are always seeking ways to provide a better experience to current and future supporters of our club. The partnership with the Storm and Force 10 Sports Management allows us to leverage more than 20 years of experience and expertise that was developed servicing and supporting the Storm’s fans,” said Reign owner and president Bill Predmore. “The partnership provides us with a predictable cost structure that will lower our expenses relative to managing an internal ticket sales team. We expect to see material gains in ticketing revenue this season, as Force 10 Sports Management will provide instant scale, experience, expertise, and access to a broader set of customers than was possible for us to achieve independently.”

The Reign averaged 4,037 fans per game in 2017, good for fifth-most in the league. However, this was a 12.3 percent drop from 2016, part of an overall 8.5 percent drop among the league.


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