Utah Royals FC defender, Katie Bowen, invited to her third World Cup with New Zealand

SANDY, Utah — Katie Bowen will be one of several players on Utah Royals FC to play in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup this summer in France. This will be her third World Cup with the New Zealand national team.

"I definitely don't take it for granted," said Bowen. "But this is my third World Cup, that's crazy. My first one was when I was 17 years old, now I'm 25. It's a massive achievement for me."

This will be her first World Cup without her dad. He passed away a year and a half ago. He also played professional soccer, and he's a big reason why she started playing the game.

"He was kind of taken too early," said Bowen. "But when I step on the field, even if it's training, weight room, whatever, it's kind of where I feel closest to him. It's where I can still feel him yelling from the stands. I just want to make him proud, and he'll be proud of me regardless of the the results or what happens. It's little things, like after games I know exactly what he'll be critiquing me on, which I still like because it's still like we have that that relationship and he's still here. I just want to make him proud, make my family proud, because he was a massive influence on my game. It's why I play. It's why I'm now here in this amazing environment "

Katie will play with the Royals this Friday at home against Chicago before leaving to join the New Zealand national time. It's an odd time to be leaving the Royals, at the beginning of the NWSL season, but Katie and the rest of the rest of the World Cup players have helped the Royals get off to a great start with two wins in two matches.

"Last year we had a run of a lot of draws, which was really frustrating, especially getting to the end of season and missing out on the playoffs by one point," said Bowen. " We really wanted to come in and know that early on with the internationals leaving we needed to get as many points as we could, and so two from two is really great."

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.