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How the NWSL’s Current Rebooted Women’s Soccer in Kansas City

The Kansas City Current may have fallen to the Portland Thorns in the 2022 NWSL Championship, but the city’s return to women’s soccer is producing success ahead of schedule.

Cinderella stories are what make our sports fun, and for countless fans of the Beautiful Game, the 2022 Kansas City Current reignited the belief that anything is possible.

This time last year, the soccer club had just revealed its new name, colors, and crest, dropping their temporary “Kansas City NWSL” placeholder name and formally adopting what we know now as the Current, complete with chic teal blue, red, and white kits. When the team finished its inaugural season in 2021, they sat last in the National Women’s Soccer League standings with 16 points from 24 games, 14 of which were losses.

Fast-forward 365 days and they’re recognized as the league’s runners-up following an appearance in the NWSL Championship on Oct. 29.

Such ascendant success in such a short amount of time isn’t shocking, however, and Kansas City’s stats as a premier soccer city isn’t a sudden phenomenon. Rather, this blueprint was years in the making.

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From 2012 to 2017, Kansas City had a professional women’s soccer team: FC Kansas City, one of the eight founding clubs in the NWSL that achieved championship success in 2014 and 2015. Things unfortunately went south in November 2017 when they ceased operations, stripping Elam Baer’s membership interest after accusations of poor management practices. Recognizing the need to revitalize women’s soccer in the Paris of the Plains, former collegiate athlete Brittany Mahomes joined a fledgling ownership group formed by financial execs Angie and Chris Long in December 2020.

Assessing the Current’s present accomplishments requires a trip down memory lane, all the way to August 14, 2021. Still sporting their temporary branding, they faced OL Reign after losing their first 13 games of the 2021 regular season. They scored a 1-0 victory against a powerhouse in women’s soccer and a turnaround began to take shape. A six-match unbeaten run followed as dreams grew bigger about the possibility of return to the highest heights of the FC Kansas City days sooner rather than later.

Much sooner.

Today, not even two years into their formation, the franchise is already up there with the likes of the Reign, the Washington Spirit, and the newly crowned champions, the Portland Thorns, who bested the current 2-0 in Washington, DC. An impressive roster sprinkled with possible rising USWNT stars and celebrated vets like Lynn Williams and Sam Mewis? Check. Supported by loyal fans that set a new attendance record for a women’s professional club match in the City of Fountains? Check. Perhaps the most important milestone, a brand-new stadium arriving in time for the 2024 campaign? Check.

And not forget the $18 million privately funded training complex to double down on the organization’s commitment to investing in female athletes. Constructed by a women-owned firm, it features a film review room, weight center, dining hall, and plenty of outdoor space to hold multiple scrimmages.

“From the moment we purchased the team, we knew these elite athletes deserved world-class facilities to call their own,” Angie Long said in June. “In less than one year since breaking ground, our training complex is open. It’s a true ‘home away from home’ for our players — a space designed exclusively for them.”

Another contributing factor to the Current’s success? Unapologetic supporters that won’t let a championship defeat dull their excitement for the future.

Thousands of fans lined up hours before an official watch party at Kansas City’s Union Station, and for the entire 90 minutes, they maintained hope that the NWSL trophy could be coming home.

The eagerness of what’s to come is a testament to the hard work put in by Mahomes and the Longs. Sure, the Chiefs have almost guaranteed the town’s status as a trophy hub for at least the next decade, but it took five decades for a Super Bowl victory to once again bewitch Kansas City. At their current trajectory, the Current aren’t exactly likely to keep the local fans waiting quite that long.

Perhaps as soon as this time one year from now.

The storybook ending didn’t go in their favor Saturday night at Audi Field in Washington, DC, but the future looks undeniably bright for the Kansas City Current.

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About The Author
Vinciane Ngomsi
Vinciane Ngomsi
Vinciane Ngomsi is a Staff Writer at Boardroom. She began her career in sports journalism with bylines at SB Nation, USA Today and, most recently, Yahoo. She received a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Truman State University and when she's not watching old clips of Serena Williams' best matches, she is likely perfecting her signature chocolate chip cookie recipe or preparing a traditional Cameroonian meal.
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