Will Christen Press squeeze out the competition and help the United States win back-to-back FIFA World Cups? Before the soccer extravaganza kicks off, here’s the scoop on the soccer star.
If there is one sight that will drive dread in the heart of every team playing the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, it’s seeing Christen Press, 30, come off the bench. In 116 caps for the United States Women’s National Team, she’s scored 48 goals. She helped the team win the World Cup in 2015, and this fierce striker looks to help the team go back-to-back when the 2019 tournament kicks off on June 7. Before it all goes down, here’s what you need to know about Christen.
1. She’s a second-generation athlete. Christen Annemarie Press was born in Los Angeles, to Cody and Stacy Press. Her father played football – of the American variety – at Dartmouth, while her mother was a tennis player. This family, Christen told Sports Illustrated, “placed extraordinary value on winning.” Those values flowed into Christen, whose U-14 level team, Slammers FC, went undefeated. It won Nationals, Nike, Surf Cup, and Gothia. Christen would always win the Golden Boot.
2. She’s one of the best players in Sanford Cardinal history. When Christen joined the Stanford Cardinal’s women’s soccer team, no one was really prepared for the greatness that would follow. Christen, who also received Academic All-America honors while winning the Pac-10’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award, is the all-time leading scorer for the team. In addition to setting the record with 71 goals, she broke the record for career points (183), assists (41), and shots (500.) She won the Hermann Trophy, considered the pinnacle award for college soccer, and a two-time runner-up at the NCAA Women’s College Cup.
3. She rediscovered her love of soccer in Sweden. After college, Christen signed with magicJack, a WPS team, in 2011. After the WPS folded in early 2012, Christen joined Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC in the top division league in Sweden. She signed with Tyresö FF in 2013 and played with the team until 2014. Upon returning home, she joined the NSWL’s Chicago Red Stars from 2014-2017. When the Red Stars traded her to the Houston Dash in January 2018, Christen returned to Sweden to play for Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC.
“It felt like it gave me what I needed, and I never thought I would need that again,” she told ESPN. “Time passes, and your situation changes, and I really feel like I did need it again. I did need a break from my norm, a break from my routine. To oversimplify my first experience, that’s what it was — it was a distancing from the pressure I had felt, and there was a little bit of relief just in that distance. This time it wasn’t that I felt so much pressure — it was like I just had to be free again.”
Christen returned to the NWSL in the middle of 2018, as the Utah Royals FC acquired her through a trade. In the 2019 NWSL season opener, she assisted in Lo’eau LaBonta’s goal in the 1-0 win over the Washington Spirit.
4. Christen honored an anti-abolitionist during the 2019 SheBelieves cup. US Soccer’s annual event, the SheBelieves Cup, allowed the US Women to wear the name of their heroes, specifically other women they found inspirational, on the back o their jerseys. Christen chose Sojourner Truth. “Sojourner Truth is the original intersectional activist – advocating for people who have layers of oppression being black and female. She is the ultimate hero for us today, centuries later, as we grapple with the same problems and try to better our world regarding these complex social issues,” Christen said.
5. She’s a fashion entrepreneur. “We weren’t able to capitalize on the moment,” Christen said of the 2015 World Cup win, per The New York Times. “Everyone around us was — TV, sponsors — but we weren’t compensated or treated like what we were: the absolute best soccer players in the world. [So], we decided it was time to change the paradigm.” Christen, along with Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath and former teammate, Meghan Klingenberg, started re-inc. They released their first product, a t-shirt (with the words “Liberté, égalité, défendez”) on the front.
“We wanted to start in fashion, because it’s male-dominated, and streetwear is the worst of it,” she said. “It’s made mostly by men, for men, and women have to adapt. It’s ripe for disruption.”