Christen Press had a lot of early success. In club soccer, her teams won national championships, and in college, she became Stanford’s all time leading scorer (71 goals) and the recipient of the 2010 Herman Trophy Award, college soccer’s top prize. But Press was more focused on what she hadn’t accomplished. In high school, she’d never been selected for Youth National Teams; and in spite of her individual success in college, Press lost in the NCAA College Cup championship two years in a row.
Coming out of college and entering the pros in 2011, she had one goal: play well enough to attract the attention of the National Team. The eight goals she scored for MagicJack ranked third in the league, and she was named Rookie of the Year. But it wasn’t enough to get her a call up to the National Team. Disappointed, she returned to California to train ahead of the next season, to try one more time to earn herself an invite.
Instead, the league folded. “Just like that I was unemployed,” says Press. “And I had to make a decision.” There was a four-day signing window for the European leagues, and within a week, Press found herself on a plane to Sweden. Press thought that was the end of her National Team dreams, “I thought, ‘I’m not going to play in the Olympics, or the World Cup. The National Team is just a thing that’s not going to happen for me. I need to just go do my own thing, see how far I can take my career without the National Team.” And ironically, as Christen puts it, “that was my roundabout way straight to the National Team.”
THE SWEDEN EFFECT
“In Sweden, I felt like I had nothing to lose. A lot of my playing experiences in college I thought I had everything to lose. Here I could just play free and enjoy the game and let it all go,” says Press.
Playing with more joy and less pressure, she scored goals and more goals; she was the second leading scorer in the Damallsvenskan league in 2012. And while she thought playing way out in Sweden meant she was too far away for anyway to pay attention to her, Pia Sundhage, then the U.S. National Team coach, was a Swede who was closely following Christen’s progress. “Three months after I got to Sweden, I got my first call up to the National Team,” says Press.
Christen Press, an academic All American and the Pac-10's 2010 Scholar-Athlete of the Year, has always liked to write and read. In her closet, there are towers of journals she’s filled over the years. She describes writing as “the best way to express herself.” It also helps her reach new understandings, “Writing about my life experiences lets me analyze, compare things, sift through and really understand things and find a positive spin.” While in Sweden, she began a blog and you can follow her adventures at: http://footballschristenpress.blogspot.com/.
U.S. National Team: A sleek, versatile attacker, Press has become a key piece for the WNT based on her prodigious scoring rate and ability to be effective both as a forward and midfielder.
2015: Grabbed her third-career hat trick on Dec. 10 against Trinidad & Tobago in the seventh game of the Victory Tour... 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Champion... Named to the 2015 U.S. FIFA Women's World Cup roster, her first World Cup selection... Has appeared in 14 matches for the U.S., starting 11 of them... Scored in her first World Cup appearance against Australia on June 8, 2015... Assisted on Abby Wambach's first goal during the USA's 3-0 win over Ireland on May 10... Has made her presence felt up top with three assists so far this year and a goal in the final of the Algarve Cup, a 2-0 victory over France on March 11 to help the USA claim its 10th Algarve Cup title... 2014: Set a new career-high with the WNT in appearances with 23, which was tied for best on the team … Nearly tripled her minutes on the field compared to her first year, making 14 starts and playing 1,322 minutes … Scored a career-high 11 goals, including her first four-goal game, which came against Argentina during the International Tournament de Brasilia … Played in all five games at the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship with two scores and one assist to help the USA earns its Women’s World Cup berth … 2013: Earned her first 12 caps while starting five games and scoring eight goals, third most on the team … Played 554 minutes and averaged a goal for 69 minutes she was on the field … Also had two assists … No American player scored more goals for club and country in 2013 as she found the net a total of 45 times, including 23 in the Damallsvenskan … Scored twice in her debut on Feb. 8 against Scotland in Jacksonville, Fla., as she made her first start … Was the 17th U.S. player to score her in debut … Also scored in her second and fourth games to become just the fifth U.S. WNT player to score at least four goals in her first four matches … Also had a two-goal game against the Netherlands on April 9 in the Hague … 2012: Trained with the full U.S. team for the first time in April of 2012 in Bradenton, Fla. … Also traveled and trained with the U.S. team for two matches in Sweden in June … Named as an alternate to the 2012 Olympic Team without previously earning a cap and traveled with the squad to the U.K. … Youth National Teams: Attended training camp with the U-23s in October of 2011 … In July of 2010, she scored three times in three matches for the U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team, including in a 1-0 defeat of Sweden, as the U.S. won the Four Nations Tournament in England ... Traveled to Germany with the U.S. U-23s for a three-match tour in May of 2010 and started both matches which ended as 2-2 draws against Germany and South Korea ... Also played for the U.S. U-23s in 2009 and scored against an Irish select side during a U-23 two-match tour of Ireland and Northern Ireland ... Finished her U-23 career with five caps and three goals … Was a member of U.S. U-20 player pool in 2008 … First Appearance: Feb. 9, 2013, vs. Scotland … First Goal: Feb. 9, 2013, vs. Scotland (two goals).
Professional/Club – 2014: In 2014, she played the first half of the Damallsvenskan season in Sweden’s premier women’s soccer league … It was her third and final campaign in Sweden and she helped Tyresö FF to the Champions League Final, where it fell 4-3 to Wolfsburg of Germany … She set up one of the goals in the Champions League Final … In her final game in Sweden, Tyresö FF beat eventual league champion FC Rosengård 2-1 and she scored both goals … In the semifinal series of the Champions League against Birmingham of England, she helped Tyresö FF to a 3-0 aggregate victory (0-0 in England, 3-0 at home), scoring two of the goals and assisting on the other to Marta … In the quarterfinal series against Neulengbach of Austria, Tyresö FF won 8-0 on aggregate (8-0 at home, 0-0 away) as she scored three goals and had three assists … Joined the Chicago Red Stars of the NWSL for the second half of 2014 season after completing her time in Sweden that ended with a Champions League Final appearance and the victory against FC Rosengård … Helped the Red Stars to the brink of the playoffs and the team finished with a 9-8-7 record … Despite only playing and starting in 12 matches for the Red Stars, Press led the team with six goals, while playing every minute of every match she appeared in … She was named to the NWSL Best XI Second Team … 2013: Signed with Stockholm-based Tyresö FF for her second season in Damallsvenskan, and became the first American to lead the league in scoring, winning the Golden Boot by finding the net 23 times in 20 games, all starts … Also scored nine goals in the Swedish Cup, once in the Swedish Super Cup and four goals in the UEFA Champions League to help Tyresö to two-leg victories over Paris Saint-Germain (Round of 32) and Danish club Fortuna (Round of 16) … She scored both goals in 2-1 victories in each of the first legs of the two series’… 2012: Played her first season in Damallsvenskan with Göteborg FC and finished second in the league in scoring with 17 goals … Helped Göteborg win the Swedish Cup in overtime, 2-1, against 2012 league champions and her future club, Tyresö while scoring one goal and assisting on the other … Played in 34 games (21 Damallsvenskan, six Champions League, one Supercup, and six Swedish Cup), starting 33 … Scored 25 goals in all competitions (17 Damallsvenskan, three in the Champions League and five in the Swedish Cup) … 2011: Selected with the No. 4 pick in the Women’s Professional Soccer Draft by the Washington Freedom which transitioned to the magicJack based in Boca Raton, Fla. … Played in 17 matches for magicJack spanning 1,173 minutes and scored eight goals, which included a hat trick against the Boston Breakers, and was named the league’s Rookie of the Year … 2009: Helped the Pali Blues to the W-League championship in the summer of 2009 … Youth Club: Played club for the Slammers FC of Newport Beach, Calif. ... Won the Golden Boot for most goals scored in the USYSA National Championship tournament … Her team won U-14 and U-16 national titles and were finalists as U-18s and U-19s.