To the Kansas City Soccer Community,
When the news first came out that the NWSL would be launched, people (including me) were a bit shocked that Kansas City was one of the initial eight teams. It seemed so unfamiliar to the women’s soccer scene in general. I remember thinking, “I’d probably be happy if I ended up on any of those teams, besides Kansas City.”
Fast forward just two years and I wouldn’t consider playing anywhere BUT in Kansas City. I remember watching from the outside as it became clear that FCKC had something special. The unknown coach who came from the men’s indoor game had implemented an enviable style of play and the players seemed truly happy.
In the winter of 2014, when I was feeling a bit hopeless, I got a text message from GM Huw Williams: “How would you feel about coming to play in Kansas City?” Accepting that invitation was certainly the best decision of my career. I found a home, where I felt respected, appreciated, and supported in my development. I can’t thank Huw Williams and Vlatko Andonovski enough for allowing me that opportunity and believing in me at the time when I needed it most.
Kansas City, I’m sorry.
As I get emails, texts, tweets and see comments from people in the community, I feel dismayed. How did it get to this point?
We see this too often in women’s soccer. It may be part of the sport’s growing pains, but it must end.
To anyone who owns a team, owned a team, or ever will own a team:
As players, we GREATLY appreciate your commitment, and your sacrifice (financial and otherwise) and acknowledge that it is much more complicated than we may understand. But please realize that to us as players, this is so much more than a business. You are responsible for a group of people who have worked their entire lives to do what they do. You are also responsible for a piece of history as we forge this path in the women’s game. You are contributing to a city’s pride. You are supporting a young girl’s heroes.
We as players don’t see our investment as a business move, and what we need and want more than anything is for you to understand that, and to meet us where we are.
With your team ownership comes the onus of being a steward of the women’s game. It’s a massive undertaking and a sacrifice that future generations (or even the current one) may never truly grasp.
So, I’m sorry, Kansas City, that you’re left without a women’s professional soccer team.
I’m sorry to the daughter of the dad who emailed me to say how devastated she is that she no longer has a team to support, but that the team has inspired her to set and chase soccer goals.
I’m sorry to the Blue Crew and all the season ticket holders who gave us high-fives and chanted our names. Every. Single. Game. Rain or shine.
I’m sorry to the members of the FCKC staff (some of them volunteers) who sacrificed much more than anyone should for a job. And they did it because they believed in the cause, and hoped that one day the situation would be better and easier. I’m sorry to them and their families that now some of them are unemployed, and they will not see the results of their sacrifice come to fruition.
I’m sorry that something with so much success, and even more potential, could be allowed to fail.
Kansas City lost more than a two-time championship team and the best coach in the NWSL. The city lost a young player’s role models. A father’s job. A young girl’s dream.
So, Kansas City, I’m sorry.
And yet, I will be forever thankful for your place in my personal journey. I hope that women’s professional soccer will be back in your city one day.