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Utah Royals FC Unveils Inaugural Season Slate

February 21, 2018 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) - Utah Royals FC News Release

SANDY, Utah - In conjunction with the National Women's Soccer League, today Utah Royals FC announced its 2018 regular-season schedule, unveiling the club's 24-game slate for its inaugural NWSL season. The 12-game home calendar features five Saturday afternoon games televised nationally from Rio Tinto Stadium as the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime at 1:30 p.m. MT, including the highly-anticipated inaugural home game on Sat., April 14 against the Chicago Red Stars.

The 2018 Utah Royals FC season - which starts on March 24 at Orlando and ends in early September - boasts a Saturday-heavy home slate at Rio Tinto Stadium, with ZERO Sunday home games - and just three Wednesday midweek home contests (May 9 v. Orlando; June 27 v. Seattle; and August 8 against Washington). Visit www.UtahRoyalsFC.com or call 844.Real.Tix NOW to access 2018 Season Tickets and Flex Vouchers. Individual seats for the April 14 opener, starting at $15 and up depending on location, in the heavily-anticipated kickoff are now on sale, with the remainder of the 2018 slate released in March.

The Utah Royals FC's 2018 National Women's Soccer League regular-season schedule follows:

Jenn Hildreth and Aly Wagner return to the broadcast booth for the NWSL Game of the Week on Saturdays during the regular season - while sideline reporter Dalen Cuff will also be back as the host of the pregame show starting at 1:30 p.m. MT leading up to kickoff. NWSL fans can also enjoy games this season by watching livestreams of matches on the go90 app and website in the U.S., while international fans will be able to watch games on the NWSL app and www.NWSLsoccer.com.

In addition to the inaugural home game against Chicago Red Stars being showcased nationally, Head Coach Laura Harvey's first-year side also receives the Lifetime treatment on the following dates: Sat., April 21 at North Carolina; Sat., May 19 v. Houston; Sat., July 14 against Orlando; Sat., August 11 against Seattle, as part of an historic Rio Tinto Stadium doubleheader with MLS side Real Salt Lake; and Sat., September 8 against Chicago to close out the regular-season slate.

The 2018 schedule sees Utah Royals FC facing each of the other eight NWSL sides three times each, with the club hosting four teams twice each on the Wasatch Front: Chicago, which features USA star Julie Ertz, Australia's Sam Kerr and Utah native Michele Vasconcelos; Harvey's former Seattle Reign FC side, starring Megan Rapinoe and Jess Fishlock; Orlando Pride, featuring Alex Morgan (USA), Marta (BRA) and Sydney Leroux; and the Washington Spirit, with Utah's Ashley Hatch and USA stars Mallory Pugh, Rose Lavelle and Andi Sullivan.

Meanwhile, Royals FC travels on two occasions for road games at the following four clubs: Portland Thorns FC (home of U.S. standouts Tobin Heath and Christine Sinclair), Houston Dash, featuring Christen Press (USA) and Utah's own Kealia Ohai, North Carolina Courage (boasting Crystal Dunn and Samantha Mewis) and Sky Blue FC (led by Carli Lloyd).

Utah Royals FC kicks off 2018 with three of its first four games away from home, prior to a 22-day stretch from April 28 to May 19 that sees four consecutive home games against Portland, Washington, Orlando and Houston. Harvey's group then travels for four straight contests prior to six of its next nine at home, prior to an East Coast swing at Sky Blue FC (Aug. 18) and Washington (Aug. 22) in the year's penultimate regular-season games.

Throughout a seven-month regular season that sees NWSL observe FIFA breaks / bye weeks (no Royals FC games on the weekends of April 7, May 12, June 9, July 28 and Sept. 1), the new Utah club will endure three weeks that see it play a trio of games on short rest: a Sunday, June 24 trip to Chicago is followed by back-to-back home games on Wed., June 27 (Seattle) and Sat., June 30 (Sky Blue FC). A Pacific Northwest homecoming for Harvey, Captain Becky Sauerbrunn and MF Diana Matheson features road games on Fri., July 6 at Portland and Wed., July 11 at Seattle, followed by a home contest on Sat., July 14 against Orlando. Finally, a Sunday, August 5 contest at Houston kicks off a week that sees Royals FC host Washington on Wed., August 8 and Seattle on Sat., August 11, again the first game of an NWSL/MLS doubleheader at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Beginning earlier this week and running through the March 24 NWSL opening weekend, the Utah Royals FC preseason features training camp sessions at the world-class Zions Bank Training Center, as well as preseason scrimmages against Brigham Young University and at the University of California Los Angeles.

Harvey's team kicked off preseason at the club's facility in Herriman, Utah - just 15 minutes from Utah Royals FC's Rio Tinto Stadium home - earlier this week. Following the first eleven days of camp, Utah will play its first scrimmage against the BYU women's soccer team on Saturday, March 3 (site/time TBD). After another week in Utah, the second leg of camp occurs in Southern California, the team embarking on a six-day trip to Los Angeles from March 12-17, where the team will face the UCLA Bruins on Friday, March 16 at 10:00 a.m. MT at Frank Marshall Field.

Last week, Utah Royals FC also announced that several of the club's various international players - members of the roster representing six different national teams - will miss all or part of the club's first half of preseason, due to duties "For Club and Country." United States Women's National Team DF Kelley O'Hara has been selected to join the USWNT camp in preparation for the upcoming #SheBelieves Cup (March 1-7 in Ohio, New Jersey, Orlando). U.S. Captain and DF Becky Sauerbrunn will be in Utah rehabilitating a foot injury sustained during the January USWNT camp in Southern California, while fellow USWNT star FW Amy Rodriguez has arrived in Utah, cleared for non-contact training after suffering a torn ACL after scoring a goal on NWSL opening weekend last April.

Other players preparing with their respective national teams include: Canadian MFs Desiree Scott, Diana Matheson and FW Maegan Kelly, expected to arrive in Salt Lake following their nation's participation in the prestigious Algarve Cup from February 28 - March 7 in Portugal. Also competing in the Algarve Cup are: MF Gunnhildur "Gunny" Jonsdottir (Iceland) and FW Elise Thorsnes (Norway), departing Utah on Feb. 26.

Royals FC DF Katie Bowen (New Zealand) is expected to arrive in Utah next week pending work visa logistics, but will spend the first week of March in Spain to play back-to-back friendlies against Scotland on March 3 and March 6. DF Katrina Gorry, representing the Matildas of Australia, will also participate in the Algarve Cup, but is not expected to arrive to Utah until after her nation's FIFA 2019 France World Cup Qualifying / Asian Cup matches from April 6-20.

Last week, the NWSL announced the official list of allocated players for the 2018 season. A total of 34 players - 23 Americans and 11 Canadians - will be participating as Federation Players in the upcoming season, with five - three representing USWNT and two for Canada - calling the Utah Royals FC home. They are, in alphabetical order: Diana Matheson (CAN), Kelley O'Hara (USA), Amy Rodriguez (USA), Becky Sauerbrunn (USA) and Desiree Scott (CAN). For the full list, please visit www.NWSLsoccer.com.

The majority of the club's international group is expected to return to the Wasatch Front on Friday, March 9, just in time for Real Salt Lake's home opener against LAFC on March 10, where the Utah Royals FC will be signing autographs and meeting fans at Carnival Real at Rio Tinto Stadium (details TBD). Utah Royals FC will then kick off the 2018 NWSL regular season on the road the weekends of March 24 and 31, before hosting their inaugural home game on Saturday, April 14 at Rio Tinto Stadium.

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