Utah Royals FC Signs NWSL Free Agent Madison Pogarch

December 7, 2023 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) - Utah Royals News Release

HERRIMAN, Utah - Utah Royals FC today welcome defender Madison Pogarch to its expansion 2024 roster via free agency, as the former San Diego Wave player signs a new deal for the 2024/25 NWSL seasons with the Utah side. Pogarch - a native of Hartland, Michigan - has played 36 games in the NWSL over the last five years for both the Portland Thorns and San Diego Wave, following a collegiate career that saw her thrive at Central Michigan (2015-17) and Rutgers (2018).

"I'm very excited for this day to arrive, it's been in the works for a bit and to have it finally come together is a nice early Christmas present," said Pogarch, winner of NWSL Shields in 2021 (Portland) and 2023 (San Diego), as well as Community Shield (2020), Challenge Cup (2021) and the International Champions Cup (2021). "I was fairly new to the league when the Utah Royals were around before, but I remember playing against Amy; the passion she has for the game you can't help but see it in how she played and now in everything she does.

"Amy's prowess in this game is evident with her playing at a high level for as long as she has, and now bringing that experience to build this team. In talking to Amy, 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. 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's NWSL debut came on May 25, 2019, just weeks after signing in Portland, earning her first start on June 15. Prior to a summer trade from Portland to San Diego in July, 2022, Pogarch helped the Thorns win multiple trophies, including the NWSL Community Shield (2020) and three 2021 trophies: the NWSL Challenge Cup, the International Champions Cup and the NWSL Shield. With San Diego in 2023, Pogarch's team again captured the NWSL Shield, awarded to the team with the most regular-season points.

"I'm very excited to see all of us players show up for the community, meeting the fan base, making the personal connections with everyone that is supportive of the NWSL return to Utah. I'm a very passionate, emotional person about this game, and I'm sure everyone will see that coming out on the pitch; I can't help but bring out energy, spunk, fire, creativity, athleticism - all those things every day.

"I carry a ton of pride in being able to be a good teammate and keep the energy high for group, to show up and motivate the group every time out. Our training facility is world-class, we all have to be excited to be coming to team that gives us those resources and shows the athletes that level of commitment from ownership - it's so exciting.

Utah Royals FC are set to return to the NWSL as a 2024 expansion side, along with Northern California's Bay FC. The 2024 NWSL Expansion Draft, presented by Ally, is set to be held next Friday, Dec. 15, beginning at 5:00 p.m. MT, with Utah Royals FC currently slated to select No. 2 overall. Fans can watch LIVE on CBS Sports Network as the two expansion sides can select up to 12 players each, with additional coverage via CBS Sports Golazo and the "Attacking Third" show & social accounts.

"I know it's a small group now, but we are going to grow quickly. We have such an opportunity for learning and growth of the game, on and off the field. The potential is exciting, we will embrace that underdog mentality after the NWSL absence in Utah for the last few years.

"Watching the fan response from afar has been amazing, cannot wait to see it up close and personal - it's obvious the community is absolutely itching to have this team back, and I can't contain myself thinking about the anticipation of walking into a full stadium each and every gameday."

Prior to signing with the Portland Thorns FC in 2019, Pogarch earned multiple Mid-American Conference honors with the Central Michigan Chippewas in 2016/17, transferring to Rutgers for her senior season in 2018 and earning numerous Big Ten honors. While in college, Pogarch played as an amateur and helped lead Grand Rapids FC to a United Women's Soccer title in 2017, and representing the Detroit Sun in 2018.

"We continue to be so elated to give our players the opportunity to shine and grow as we establish the foundation here in Utah," said URFC Sporting Director Kelly Cousins. "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."

Just prior to Thanksgiving, the National Women's Soccer League announced that the 2024 NWSL Draft, presented by Ally, will take place Friday, January 12 at 6 p.m. MT during the United Soccer Coaches Convention at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. For the full list of draft rules and procedures, please click here.

Live coverage of the 2024 NWSL Draft, presented by Ally, will be televised on ION from 6 to 8 p.m. MT. All rounds of the draft will be streamed on ION Plus.

Viewers can find access to ION in their area by visiting

TRANSACTION: On Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023, Utah Royals FC signs DF Madison Pogarch as an NWSL Free Agent for the 2024/25 seasons.


Tues., Dec. 12 - Transaction Moratorium Begins;

Protected/Unprotected player lists distributed to Utah Royals FC / Bay FC

Fri., Dec. 15 - Expansion Draft

Sat., Dec. 16 - Transaction Moratorium Ends

Fri., Jan. 12 - NWSL Draft, presented by Ally

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