Christen Press on returning to Angel City: "Healing My Knee Helped Me Heal A Lot About Myself"

The USWNT star shares her emotional and physical journey after four ACL surgeries
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Focus and determination have never been lacking for Christen Press. The forward suffered an ACL tear in June 2022 and underwent four surgeries during her recovery. After an anxious 730 days, the number 23 has returned to training with Angel City.

The wait was worth it. The two-time World Cup winner with the USWNT can once again experience the camaraderie of the group and the warm energy. This first significant step for Press is something to be celebrated.

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“Just exchanging that energy with your team and knowing you're all on a journey together, it's almost like coming out of a period of isolation. Just having bodies on the field and taking care of them was very warm and very meaningful. It feels like a full-circle moment. It's a bit poetic to get it exactly on the day.”

Poetic or not, as the forward herself pointed out, the moment is one of excitement. Press is a crucial player for any team's offensive system. She's versatile, can play as a reference point, but has shined on the wing. Unfortunately, she suffered a severe injury that affected many female soccer players last season. It would be crazy to say that without mental strength, she wouldn't have made it.

She had to undergo four ACL reconstructions. In an extremely difficult recovery, she showed that it made all the difference: “I think it's part of who I am. I am relentlessly optimistic. I am naively positive and just think that everything is going to work out for me – and I never want that to change, you know? And I have gone off course from all these timelines so many times that I finally had to let go of that expectation of myself,” the player expressed.

These times away from the field gave her new perspectives. As she explained: “I think that often happens when you lose something you love so much, it allows you to live in a way that is more in balance with your truth or your inner wisdom. I think that by trying to heal my knee and struggling to do so and looking for ways to heal it, I was able to heal a lot of myself.”

This return marks a significant moment for Angel City, a team that has faced difficulties this season. A spark of excitement and hope could emerge. Press, who was the first player to sign with the club, found herself through the highs and lows, thanks to the connection between player and team.

“Playing for this team also meant the first time in my life that I felt good. I bought a house. I have a home here, and it feels permanent. I was able to build a community where I feel well taken care of, and I think that helped me heal. I think being away from the game gave me space. I hope I can bring that kind of fresh air back to my game and play with gratitude and joy,” said the number 23.