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Angel City will pair World Cup winners Julie Ertz and Christen Press on debut roster

American Julie Ertz celebrates after scoring a goal against Spain at Red Bull Arena on March 8, 2020
Angel City FC has acquired the rights to two-time World Cup winner Julie Ertz from the Chicago Red Stars.
(Mike Stobe / Getty Images)

Angel City FC obtained the rights to a second two-time World Cup champion Thursday, acquiring midfielder Julie Ertz in a trade with the Chicago Red Stars.

In L.A. Ertz, 29, will be reunited with forward Christen Press, her teammate with Chicago and on world-champion national teams in 2015 and 2019. In addition to Ertz, Angel City also acquired Sarah Gorden, 29, an NWSL defender of the year nominee. Angel City will also get an international slot from the Red Stars for 2022 and 2023. In exchange, Chicago will have full roster protection from Angel City in this month’s expansion draft.

Angel City opens plays in the NWSL next spring.

Christen Press is the first player to join the Angel City FC lineup as the expansion club begins building its roster ahead of its debut season in 2022.

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“Julie Ertz and Sarah Gorden are two players that are so important for the defensive foundation we are building on the Angel City roster,” Angel City sporting director Eni Aluko said in a statement. “We know successful teams need to have competitive defenses and we are delighted with the addition of two competitive defenders with many years of NWSL experience.”

Ertz, who played collegiately at Santa Clara, was U.S. Soccer’s female player of the year in 2017 and 2019. Her husband, Zach Ertz, is a tight end with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.

Gorden went to DePaul University where, in addition to her soccer exploits, she qualified for the Big East Conference championships three times as a hurdler. She served as the sideline reporter for the USL Championship final last month, reporting on Orange County SC’s 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

A Chicago native, Gorden requested the trade to L.A. for personal reasons, the Red Stars said in a release.

“The level of experience and leadership that both Julie Ertz and Sarah Gorden bring to a team is incredible,” Angel City coach Freya Coombe said. “Julie is such a known leader and competitor on top of being a rock in the middle of the field. Sarah is absolutely one of the league’s best defenders.

“They are the caliber of player that we want playing for Angel City.”

Current NJ/NY Gotham FC coach Freya Coombe will be formally introduced as the Angel City’s first ever coach on Monday.

Ertz and Gorden helps Chicago reach the NWSL title game last month, where it lost to the Washington Spirit in extra time. The trade Thursday was part of that team’s dismantling, however, with the Red Stars following the Angel City deal by shipping out midfielder Nikki Stanton, and forwards Katie Johnson, Makenzy Doniak and Kelsey Turnbow.

Johnson and Doniak, who have California ties, were dealt to San Diego Wave for expansion draft protection and an undisclosed amount of allocation money. They also requested the trades to be closer to family, Chicago said. Johnson, who plays internationally for Mexico, is from Monrovia, while Doniak is from Chino Hills.

Turnbow, meanwhile, went to high school in Arizona and college at Santa Clara.

Stanton, who is from North Bend, Wash., went to OL Reign for a third-round pick in the nonexpansion draft.


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