Christen Press Honors Kobe Bryant With Man United 24 Jersey

Christen Press Honors Kobe Bryant With Man United 24 Jersey

LONDON: With her usual No. 23 jersey already claimed, Christen Press had a decision to make when she joined Manchester United.

It was a quick call.

I picked 24, the United States forward said on a video call. It was a best of the bunch and obviously has a history to that number as well.”

History immersed in grief in a year that began with former Los Angeles Lakers No. 24 Kobe Bryant dying in a helicopter crash at the age of 41.

When I wasnt able to wear my normal number, I definitely chose this (24) with a little nod to Kobe, because Im an LA girl, Press said. Everywhere we went, they were crazy for Kobe and the amount of inspiration and joy that he gave people by the way he played with his passion is amazing. And, its something that as athletes were all striving to do.

More significant than the number on her Red Devils jersey is where she will play in Casey Stoney’s front line.

For most of my career, I would have said Im a nine, Press said, referencing the traditional jersey number for a center forward. Its where I was trained to play … but in the last three years of my life, both at club and country, I have played wide. Ive played primarily in the 11 and I would say Im very comfortable there as well.

I think it allows me to have a little bit more of a dynamic nature to my style of play to be able to be a little bit more free flowing. I dont have a lot of the traditional traits of you know, a posting nine or something like that. So, I think it allows me the versatility to play in more different styles and systems.

The 31-year-old Press has signed up for a season in the Women’s Super League away from the Utah Royals. Her previous experience overseas apart from in a U.S. career that has seen her score 58 goals in 138 appearances has been at Swedish clubs Gteborg FC and Tyres FF.

United only reformed its womens team in 2018 after 13 years and has started its second season in the WSL by collecting four points from a possible six. The northern English club is part of the Glazer family investments that includes the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Its exactly what we need and what we want to see, Press said, “more organizations investing in the womens game because they see the value, because they see the opportunity and potential and thats what you have here. And I think it is something thats contagious and catches fire and the other clubs investing in their teams 100% inspired this.

What you hope is that it inspires the next club and thats how the global game moves forward.

With the American domestic season disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, Press is part of a wave of talent that has moved across the Atlantic to play in England.

In London there is Alex Morgan at Tottenham who, like Press, scored in the 2019 World Cup semifinal win over England.

Three other compatriots who featured in the game in Lyon have moved to Manchester, with Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis at City, and Tobin Heath for company at United.

Im reluctantly accepting that Im a veteran player and that Im now one of the oldest players on the team, but younger than Tobin,” Press said. “Were here to fight for titles. I think what well be able to bring is just like a relentless mindset towards that.

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