Happy holidays to all the Kansas City soccer fans out there! This is the time of year in which a lot of us make wish lists and then excitedly look, say, under a tree to see if we got what we wanted. Well, I have a singular hope for the Kansas City women’s soccer team—stop signing injured and unusable athletes. I know some of this is just bad luck, but this three-year-old squad already has an undesirably impressive list of high-profile acquisitions that have either never played for KC or played just literal minutes.
Thus far in this offseason, the Current have gotten significantly worse than the team that walked off the New Jersey field on October 15 with a draw against the soon-to-be champions Gotham. The dreaded expansion draft forced the trades of two everyday starters and a top draft pick. KC has signed two youngsters, but had several other players walk in free agency or otherwise not be re-signed. It’s been around this time the last couple of years that the Current have made headlines with some splashy deals, but more often than not, those deals haven’t ended up working out for Kansas City. Let’s take a look at that history and how those acquisitions have fared for the team.
A History Lesson
Twenty-five months ago, as KC was coming off a humble initial season, the team made waves by trading for USWNT star Sam Mewis. Considered one of the best players on the planet at the time, Mewis immediately raised the profile and expectations for the fledgling squad. However, it is now clear that North Carolina “won” that trade (netting Kiki Pickett and a first-round pick) as Mewis appeared in just two matches for KC and is no longer on the roster.
Twenty-three months ago, the Current swung another trade with the Courage, this time receiving fellow USWNT staple and former league MVP Lynn Williams. Suddenly, the sky seemed like the limit as KC entered the 2022 season with immense star power. But fast forward a year and Williams was left stunned by a trade to Gotham (while in NZ training with the national team) after appearing in exactly one match in KC teal.
While the Mewis injury turned out to be a lingering, long-term one that she’d been dealing with for years, the right leg injury to Williams really seemed just like bad luck. Regardless, here was another player that was supposed to help turn around the fortunes for the team, but whose on-field presence was practically nonexistent.
Seventeen months ago, Kansas City inked Claire Lavogez, a French international and World Cup veteran. Unlike the rest of the names on this list, she actually did find some success with the squad in her first handful of appearances, before tearing her ACL during KC’s playoff run last year. This caused her to miss nearly the entire 2023 season. She is still on the roster and the hope would be that she can round back into form in 2024.
Eleven months ago, the Current re-signed Desi Scott. Like everyone else here, this seemed like a big deal at the time. Scott, a Canadian national team stalwart, had just helped the team reach the NWSL championship match. Unfortunately, injuries kept her off the field for the entire 2023 season. She is still listed on the team’s roster, though she had flirted with retirement before re-signing so it’s yet to be seen how many more matches are in her legs.
Ten months ago, the Current signed world-class defender Hanna Glas, a Swedish international considered one of the best in the world at her position. She has yet to appear in a match for Kansas City. It was known that she was in recovery from an injury when she was signed, but I doubt anyone on the KC staff knew she wouldn’t see the field in 2023. Her return to action takes on even greater significance now that the Current have delt away Kate Del Fava, the starter at right back the last couple of years.
This list doesn’t include several other big names that have been brought in only to regularly reside on the injury report. Players like Morgan Gautrat and Vanessa DiBernardo have the pedigree to really help the squad if they can just remain healthy.
One thing that has become clear as we follow the Longs and Ashton is that they are not afraid to pull the trigger on a blockbuster trade or a big name signing. And in fairness, the biggest acquisition of last year’s offseason, Debinha, fully lived up to her billing (even if she too spent a little time injured). The free agency market is likely only going to heat up as we inch closer to the start of next season—though Gotham is already linked to a number of the highest profile available players. Kansas City clearly needs to do some work to replenish the depth they’ve lost and my one piece of advice to them would be to really work to find athletes with a clean bill of health.