The 2024 NWSL season is just around the corner. Most of the Kansas City Current players have arrived in KC for preseason. Soon, they’ll head to Irvine, California for the first leg of preseason through February 5th before spending the second leg in Bradenton, Florida Feb 16-March 3.
The Current have made a flurry of moves in recent days to attempt to build a roster capable of winning a Championship in 2024. Mixed in with the announcement that Desiree Scott will return to the club on a one-year deal was the preseason roster which included four non-roster invitees (NRI). Those players are goalkeeper Brittany Isenhour, outside backs Regan Steigleder and Mallory Weber as well as midfielder Sophia (Sophie) Braun.
The fits become obvious immediately for those four players. Isenhour is likely in for third round pick Halle Mackiewicz, who apparently has a knock. That gives the team three goalkeepers for camp with Jordan Silkowitz still away on loan.
Steigleder provides depth at outside back where fellow NRI Mallory Weber is recovering from her second back-to-back season ending knee injury. Last year’s big fullback signing was Hanna Glas, but she’s still listed as injured too. If not for Steigleder, that would just leave Hailie Mace, Izzy Rodriguez and second-round pick Ellie Wheeler available to play fullback.
And finally, that brings us to Braun.
Who is Sophie Braun?
Sophia, or Sophie Braun is listed as a midfielder on the Kansas City preseason roster but has most recently played her club soccer with Leon (Liga MX Femenil) as a center back. The 24-year-old, 5’7″ Braun is a dual national for the United States and Argentina. She has an American father and an Argentine mother and has made 25 appearances for the senior Argentina National Team.
She played in the 2023 Women’s World Cup, starting all three Argentina games. Braun lined up at defensive midfielder for her country. She even scored a goal against South Africa. And it was a banger!
The Oregon native played her college soccer for Gonzaga University in Washington. Braun was a regular starter at Gonzaga all five years she attended and was named All-WCC First Team as a senior. She was eligible for the 2023 NWSL College Draft but was not selected. Several mock drafts had her landing in the third or fourth round.
Fit with the KC Current
The Kansas City Current are in need of defensive midfielders. With the trades of Alex Loera and Morgan Gautrat, the team had no one on the roster earlier this week that would primarily play this role.
Vlatko Andonovski indicated the team was looking to sign a player who had been out of the country and if she’s ultimately signed, she would likely compete with Desiree Scott for time at the d-mid spot.
Having obtained a good deal of international experience along with playing consistently last season, as well as throughout college, should help her hit the ground running. However, on the surface, it doesn’t appear to be a huge signing. It’s plausible Braun is ready for significant MLS minutes, but I expected a bigger ‘splash’ at this spot.
There were so many higher rated defensive midfielders coming out of college last year, this move doesn’t leap off the page. The KC Current had eight selections in last year’s draft but didn’t choose Braun. The head coach has changed (twice) since then, so maybe Vlatko would have picked her if the chance presented itself.
I wish Braun nothing but the best, but even with the return of Desi Scott, this is the position of greatest concern as preseason gets going.