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Press returns to Angel City training

Angel City Football Club
The star forward joined team training for the first time in two years.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — The rehabilitation process has not been easy for Angel City forward Christen Press. She tore her right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) against Racing Louisville on June 11, 2022, and underwent four surgeries.

Now, two years later, on the same day, Press returned to Angel City team training.

Press participated in warm-ups and a passing drill. Although she had trained individually and been around the team for months, she had not gone through drills with the rest of the group until Tuesday. 

“I always thought I would be on the quickest timeline possible,” Press told reporters. “I always had some big milestone in my head that I just was sure I was going to make. That’s part of who I am. I’m just relentlessly optimistic. I’m naively positive, thinking that everything’s gonna work out for me. I never want that to change. 

I kind of got off course of all of those timelines so many times that I finally had to relinquish that expectation of myself. To be back in my team training, which is a small milestone, but one that you [the media] are all here for, it feels like a full circle kind of moment. It feels a little poetic to hit it on the day precisely.”

Tuesday’s return was a significant step forward for the two-time World Cup winner. However, her return to matches may not be soon. 

“It’s going to be a little while before you see me in a game, so be patient,” Press said

In the meantime, Press will continue the rehabilitation process. Her plan involves individual drills and work in team training. 

“[Press] has a detailed plan that she is fully bought into moving forward with, which is exciting,” Tweed said. “There will be different days in terms of loading and what she is doing. But she is doing things daily in an individual space, so when she comes back into the team training, she is prepared for everything that’s coming her way.”

To be able to get her in pieces with the team is huge, but to continue moving forward with her individual trading is also huge.”

Despite the lengthy (and ongoing) comeback, Press feels she has healed herself while being a part of Angel City. She built a community in Los Angeles and feels settled for the first time in her life.

“I bought a house,” Press said. “I have a home here, and it feels permanent. That is very different. In that, I have been able to build a community that I feel very cared for in and that has helped me heal.” 

Press is excited about her eventual return to matches but also understands the importance of patience. 

“No matter how zen I seem when I talk about it, you can’t help having your mind race towards the excitement of, if I check all these boxes and I make it on the fastest timeline, then I could make this game,” Press said. “You can’t help but do that.

“I try to embrace that excitement and not squander it, but then also temper it with the balance and the reality that this is not in my control and patience has been my best friend for the last 730 days and more.”

Press will stay the course. Tuesday’s participation in team training was a step closer to her comeback.