Kansas City Current NWSL preview: With Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams, is K.C. poised to make competitive leap?

The National Women’s Soccer League preseason is underway and Kansas City Current are among 12 clubs beginning their journeys to the 2022 season. The 2022 Challenge Cup will kick off on March 18 with the cup final closing on May 7. Fans can watch Challenge Cup matches across CBS platforms live and on demand with Paramount+.

After finishing in last place in its inaugural season, the club added a new head coach and general manager to the fold as the team prepares to play their matches in Children’s Mercy Park for the upcoming season. The franchise hired Matt Potter as their new head coach and added former NWSL player Ella Masar to the coaching staff. The club also made big acquisitions to the squad in the offseason and appear poised to make a competitive run. 

Let’s take a look at Kansas City Current ahead of the 2022 NWSL season:

Offseason overview

Finish in 2021: The team struggled and finished in last place with a 3-7-14 record in its inaugural season. Huw Williams was dismissed as head coach and moved into a front-office role as a scouting director. The franchise also added former NWSL player Cami Levin as new general manager ahead of the 2022 season.

Biggest losses: They didn’t wait for the season to end before kick-starting the roster turnover, as they bade farewell to Kansas City legend Amy Rodriguez in a midseason trade. Several players were either waived, traded, went overseas on loan, retired or bought out of their contract in the offseason. The club also traded their former first-round draft pick Kiki Pickett to the North Carolina Courage to kick off their offseason trade window.

Biggest acquisitions: The trade for USWNT star midfielder Sam Mewis in exchange for Pickett and the rights to Malia Berkely made headlines around the league. The team then re-signed several players, retaining long time NWSL veterans Kristen Edmonds, Kristen Hamilton, Lo’eau LaBonta and Desiree Scott. The franchise boosted their goalkeeping depth with Cassie Miller in a trade for allocation money with Chicago Red Stars and added more former Courage players to the roster by acquiring USWNT forward Lynn Williams. 

Biggest burning question entering 2022 season

During the 2021 season, the franchise quickly looked ahead to 2022 as the club struggled to pick up wins on the pitch. They did make huge gains off of it — launching their new crest, announcing home games at Children’s Mercy Park and setting up plans for a state-of-the-art NWSL specific stadium for the club in the near future. With big-name acquisitions big plans in place, the burning question heading into the 2022 season is: Can the hype off the pitch translate to results during the regular season?

What they’re saying

Kristen Edmonds has been in the league for eight seasons. Now with her third NWSL club, Edmonds sat down with CBS Sports podcast “Attacking Third” to discuss what differences to expect out of Kanas City in 2022. 

“The vibe here is amazing,” said Edmonds. “For me personally, something just feels different coming into this preseason. I feel like we have something special going on here.

“For a player like me — who has been in the league for awhile — to be a part of something that’s moving forward and not kind of standing still or moving backwards a little bit, is really cool. I feel really lucky to be a part of it and still be able to contribute. I can tell you that we are going to be a force to be reckoned with this season, we’re not giving anything away.”

Want more coverage of women’s soccer? Listen below and make sure to follow Attacking Third, A CBS Soccer Podcast devoted to bringing you everything you need to know from the NWSL and around the globe.  

Preseason roster

With the Challenge Cup steadily approaching, Kansas City Current narrowed their preseason roster down from 28 players to 26 players. Hallie Mace was originally listed as a midfielder and is now among the defenders. Michele Vasconcelos was originally listed on loan through June 2022 and is no longer listed among the forwards. Joining her is non-roster invitee Kelsey Dossey, who is no longer listed among the goalkeepers. 

Expect lineups to feature Franch, Ball, Edmonds, LaBonta, Mewis, Hamilton and Williams among the starting XI as regular season fixtures kick off. 

Goalkeepers (3): Adrianna “AD” Franch, Cassie Miller, Kayla Thompson (NRI) 

Defenders (9): Elizabeth Ball, Kate Del Fava, Brookelyn Entz (NRI), Taylor Leach, Alex Loera, Hailie Mace, Izzy Rodriguez (CDP), Mallory Weber, Jenna Winebrenner (CDP) 

Midfielders (9): Chardonnay Curran (CDP), Kristen Edmonds, Lo’eau LaBonta, Chloe Logarzo (NYR), Addie McCain, Sam Mewis, Maddie Nolf, Victoria Pickett, Desiree Scott 

Forwards (5): Mollie Belisle (NRI), Elyse Bennett (CDP), Kristen Hamilton, Jaycie Johnson, Lynn Williams 

Projected finish

Expect Racing Louisville to finally establish both a culture and style of play that they weren’t able to during the 2021 season. It will lead to a better finish than last season, but might not carry them into the playoffs. 

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