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In what became a pandemic trend among US women’s national team players, Christen Press joined the American exodus this fall in electing to move to the FA Women’s Super League and join Manchester United alongside fellow national teamer Tobin Heath. Earlier, Manchester City signed Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis, another USWNT duo, shaking up the soccer world while also setting up an epic Manchester derby, which will finally kick off this Saturday.

“I’m really excited to be joining Manchester United this season,” Press said of her signing. “I’m grateful to have the opportunity to play for such an elite club and beyond ready to get back on the field. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to continue to strive to be my best and to compete for trophies this year.”

In an exclusive interview with Manchester United TV, Press indicated that her entrance into the Women’s Super League will offer a unique test of her skills. “It’s going to be a huge challenge. It always is when you’re changing culture. It’s not just the lifestyle culture, it’s the football culture, it’s the approach in training.”

Press is known for her lethality up top, boasting impressive stats in stints with the Chicago Red Stars, with whom she spent four seasons, the Utah Royals, with whom she spent two seasons, and the US women’s national team. Press has also spent time playing professionally in Sweden during her career.

While with the Red Stars, Press made 60 appearances, notching 35 goals and captaining the team in 2016 and 2017. She was then acquired by the Utah Royals in June of 2018, where she tallied 10 goals and 4 assists in 25 matches. Named to the NWSL Best XI in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019, Press certainly left her mark on the National Women’s Soccer League. Likewise stellar with the USWNT, Press is a two-time World Cup champion and has netted 58 goals and assisted 37 in 138 caps for her country.

Most recently, she was awarded the honorary Golden Ball at the 2020 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament and named to the tournament’s Best XI. Many believed this performance marked a turning point in Press’s career on the national team. Under new coach Vlatko Andonovski, she was given the chance to start after largely coming off the bench at the last World Cup under former coach Jill Ellis. And her CONCACAF performance provided all the evidence needed that she should likely keep that starting spot at next summer’s Olympics.

It was never a question of if Press would become an impact player for Manchester United, only a matter of when. Her speed, footwork, and goal-scoring abilities alone make Press an asset for any team fortunate enough to add her to their offense — a fact that is certainly not lost upon Manchester United manager Casey Stoney, who had high praise for the 31 year old.

“Christen is a world-class player and we are thrilled to have her on board at the club. She has a proven record and her stats speak for themselves; she’s a ruthless striker who scores so many different types of goals, and I know she can add some real quality to our squad,” said Stoney, “Christen is also hugely experienced and for me it’s fantastic to add another senior figure like her in the dressing room.”

Thus far, Press has made four appearances for Manchester United during the 2020/2021 season, opening her scoring account in her third match with the club to lift United to a 4-2 win over West Ham United. By chance, fellow USWNT star Tobin Heath scored her first United goal in the very same match. Most recently, Press was commended for her role in Manchester United’s win over “big three” squad Arsenal to take first place in WSL standings, in which she connected with Tobin Heath on two scoring opportunities and made her presence known to the Arsenal defense, leading the charge in the attacking third.

Since the addition of Press and Heath, it has been smooth sailing for Manchester United, who have scored 15 goals in six matches to hold onto a 5-1-0 record, remaining undefeated on the regular season with 16 points. But this is no time for United to catch their breath —still hot on their heels are Arsenal and Chelsea, who currently sit at second and third place in the league with 15 points and 13 points.

On the horizon is this weekend’s much-anticipated Manchester derby, in which Christen Press, Tobin Heath, and a talented Manchester United squad will take on the reigning FA Women’s Cup champion Manchester City, featuring national teammates Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle. It will be well worth getting up early to witness the showdown between these two Manchester units this Saturday, November 14th at 7:30 a.m. EST — set your alarm accordingly! And catch a livestream of the game at AtaFootball.com.

WHAT’S NEXT IN THE FA WSL:

 

November 14th 

Manchester United vs. Manchester City @ 7:30 a.m. EST

Aston Villa vs. Birmingham City @ 9:30 a.m. EST

Everton vs. Reading FC @ 11:30 a.m. EST

Bristol City vs. Tottenham @ 1:30 p.m. EST

November 15th

West Ham vs. Brighton & Hove Albion @ 7:30 a.m. EST

Arsenal vs. Chelsea @ 9:30 a.m. EST