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  • Writer's pictureAudrey Brown

A preseason look at the Kansas City Current

Who are they?

The Kansas City Current are back for their second season alongside Racing Louisville FC. While the Current is fairly new to the league, Kansas City is not new to the women’s soccer scene. Former team FC Kansas City played in the NWSL from 2013 through 2017 as one of the eight founding members, winning two NWSL Championships along the way. Kansas City took a hiatus from women’s soccer after FCKC was purchased by Elam Baer and relocated to Salt Lake City. The Current joined the NWSL as an expansion team in 2021.



Kansas City Current's newly rebranded crest

The club rebranded for the 2022 season, establishing itself as the Current. Red, aqua, navy and white can be found in the team’s crest, which is a river current and two stars made to represent Missouri and Kansas.


Huw Williams was originally hired as head coach, but left the position in November 2021 into a scouting and talent identification role. The Current then announced Matt Potter as head coach in January. Potter previously coached at Washington State and the University of Oklahoma before moving on as an assistant for the U.S. Women’s National Team. He coached the Cougars to three NCAA Tournament appearances and the Sooners to two NCAA appearances.


Following his hiring, Potter told SB Nation “I look forward to the challenge of competing in one of the premier women’s soccer leagues, with players that share that philosophy. The Current is truly on the move, and I can’t wait to get started.”


Lucas Rodriguez and Ella Masar join Potter as assistant coaches. Masar is a former professional soccer player, who played with the Houston Dash and the Chicago Red Stars along with various other clubs abroad. Goalkeeper Coach Lloyd Yaxley has had plenty of jobs within the NWSL, coaching goalkeepers in the Washington Spirit and the Orlando Pride. Ben Donachie is the high performance director.


The freshly rebranded KC Current have an exciting season ahead of them. Kansas City is a major soccer city with a history of dedicated, loyal fans, as demonstrated by FC Kansas City’s tenure. There is also heavy support for the MLS team Sporting Kansas City, who shared Children’s Mercy Park with the Current last season and will continue to do so in 2022 while the Current’s new $70 million stadium is being built.


Meet the players

Portland Thorns FC traded goalkeeper Adrianna Franch to Kansas City in August 2021. French is second in the league in shutouts and was named Goalkeeper of the Year in 2017 and 2018. As arguably one of the best goalkeepers in the NWSL, Franch will be a vital member of the Current’s backline.


Izzy Rodriguez and Jenna Winebrenner are new additions to Kansas City’s defense, drafted just this season. Winebrenner played for Notre Dame for four seasons of her college career, but was drafted out of TCU. Rodriguez comes from Ohio State, and has been a member of various U.S. Youth National Team rosters.


Midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta is a longtime member of Kansas City’s franchise. She was part of the FC Kansas City squad from 2016 to 2017 and then moved with the team to play for Utah Royals FC. Her creative flair in the midfield line has been fun to watch throughout her time in the NWSL. She has a dangerous presence and is constantly threatening opposing team’s defense with her technical ability and strength.


Kansas City obtained multiple players from North Carolina Courage. Hailie Mace, a versatile player who has found herself in both the frontline and the backline, was traded alongside Kristen Hamilton and Katelyn Rowland. The Courage received veteran forward Amy Rodriguez and $60,000 of allocation money in return, although Amy Rodriguez announced her retirement at the end of January after only one season with North Carolina.



Lynn Williams and Sam Mewis celebrate during a North Carolina Courage game. (Photo//Alex Goodlett, Getty Images)

Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams will also debut together for the Current this season. The pair played together on North Carolina for nearly four seasons. Mewis was traded in November 2021 with Williams following in mid-January. Williams’s speed and knack for goal-scoring will be a major asset to Kansas City after Amy Rodriguez’s departure, as she is ranked second in the NWSL in both goals and assists. Mewis on the other hand is a multifaceted player who can flourish at both attacking and defensive midfield roles. The duo’s chemistry will likely make a big difference for Kansas City.


What do I want to see?

Kansas City finished their inaugural season in last place. Their record was 3-7-14, with their meager three wins occurring against Racing Louisville FC, OL Reign and Houston Dash. Their rebranding and subsequent acquirement of many players gives them the opportunity to start the 2022 season with new attitudes and confidence.


The Current would be smart to utilize the dynamic between Mewis and Williams, as well as Hamilton and Mace. Taking advantage of preexisting chemistry would be beneficial considering Kansas City appeared to struggle with consistency last year. Additionally, Potter as a new head coach may change up the team’s typical playing style and find tactics that better fit his players, especially new ones. Mewis along with LaBonta will ensure a strong central midfield pairing to support Williams, Hamilton and their fellow forward Jaycie Johnson up top.


However, Mewis, Williams, French and midfielder Chloe Logarzo may also be called up for international duties for the USWNT and AUSWNT. Kansas City will need to put out strong performances even when international players are absent, but this may also give them an advantage over other clubs with more international players.


The key to a successful season for the Current will be establishing a true sense of identity. Being moved between locations and ownership over the past five years may have made it difficult for them to establish rhythm in the way they play. There will also be fewer disruptions to the schedule due to no World Cup or Olympic breaks. Kansas City has a lot of potential and can only go up, but the question is whether they have learned anything from last season.



Full Preseason roster

GOALKEEPERS (4): Kelsey Dossey (NRI), Adrianna ‘AD’ Franch, Carly Nelson (LOAN), Kayla Thompson (NRI)

DEFENDERS (8): Elizabeth Ball, Kate Del Fava, Brookelyn Entz (NRI), Taylor Leach, Alex Loera, Izzy Rodriguez (CDP), Mallory Weber, Jenna Winebrenner (CDP)

MIDFIELDERS (10): Chardonnay Curran (CDP), Kristen Edmonds, Lo’eau LaBonta, Chloe Logarzo (NYR), Hailie Mace, Addie McCain, Sam Mewis, Maddie Nolf, Victoria Pickett (NYR), Desiree Scott

FOWARDS (6): Mollie Belisle (NRI), Elyse Bennett (CDP), Kristen Hamilton, Jaycie Johnson, Lynn Williams, Michele Vasconcelos (LOAN)

Key:

CDP – 2022 NWSL College Draft pick

LOAN – Player on Loan

NRI – Non-Roster Invitee

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