FC Kansas City, Gearing Up For The NWSL Season, Will Play Mizzou In A Preseason Matchup In Columbia This Sunday
St. Louis sadly has been without a professional women’s soccer team of its own since May of 2010, yet one of the current stars on the women’s soccer scene happens to hail from our fair city.
FC Kansas City of the National Women’s Soccer League will bring professional women’s soccer a little closer to our side of the state when they take on the University of Missouri in a preseason matchup this Sunday in Columbia, Missouri. Gametime at Audrey J. Walton Soccer Stadium. is set for 4 pm.
St. Louisan Sauerbrunn Leads FC Kansas City
FC Kansas City captain and U.S. Women’s National Team co-captain Becky Sauerbrunn grew up on the soccer fields of St. Louis playing for the JB Marine Soccer Club. She also starred at Ladue High School, where she was named the 2003 Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year and was twice named to the Parade All-American team.
Sauerbrunn earned her first cap with the senior U. S. Women’s National Team in 2008, but played in her first FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2011. In the 2015 World Cup, she played every minute of every match for the United States, where they beat Japan 5-2 in the Women’s World Cup Final.
Women’s professional soccer in the United States has been a bit rocky. The Women’s Professional Soccer league lasted from 2009-2012 and gave St. Louis its last taste of professional soccer on the women’s side. Saint Louis Athletica hosted the league’s All-Star Game in 2009, but folded midway through the 2010 season amid the Jeff Cooper debacle.
The National Women’s Soccer League, of which FC Kansas City is a part, is currently in its fifth season. The Kansas City entry is one of the league’s most successful teams, being crowned NWSL champions in 2014 and 2015.
Becky Sauerbrunn was named the league’s Defender of the Year in each of the its first 3 seasons. She has also been named to the NWSL Best XI at the end of each of the four seasons.
The NWSL announced a partnership with A+E Networks last month that creates a new joint venture, NWSL Media, that will control global broadcast rights for the league. Begininng this season, the NWSL Game of the Week On Lifetime will air each Saturday at 3 pm CST. A half-hour pregame show will air each week prior to the scheduled match. Featured matchups will be announced at a later date.
Preparing For 2017
FC Kansas City opened the 2017 preseason earlier this week with 28 players in camp. USWNT players Sauerbrunn and Amy Rodriquez, included in that 28, were scheduled to join the team sometime this week. Desiree Scott of the Candian National Team is also expected to join the team this week.
Somewhat of a new face in the team’s camp is Sydney Leroux. Leroux was traded to Kansas City in March of 2015, but missed the entire 2016 season. The reason? Sydney and husband Dom Dwyer of Sporting Kansas City welcomed their first son in September of last year.
Another new face Christina Gibbons. Gibbons was selected fifth overall by the team in the 2017 NWSL College Draft. Gibbons played her college soccer at Duke and has played with the U-23 National Team.
Sunday’s Game At Mizzou Opens Preseason
FCKC will play three preseason game before opening the NWSL regular season on April 16. The first game for the squad comes this Sunday.
The Missouri Tigers finished 11-7-2 during the fall season and earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the 7th time in program history. Missouri closed out the season with two close losses, one to Florida in the first round of the SEC Tournament. After playing to a 3-3 draw through regular time and 3 overtime periods, Florida won the match 8-7 on penalty kicks.
In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Missouri traveled to Lawrence, Kansas to face the Jayhawks. The team again played extra soccer before losing 1-0 in double-overtime.
Sarah Luebbert (Jefferson City) was the top newcomer for Bryan Blitz’s team in the fall, leading the team in scoring with 10 goals and being named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year. She was also called into the U.S. U-23 National Team training camp back in January.
A Spring newcomer to watch for Mizzou is Zoe Cross. The Pease Pottage, England native enrolled at Missouri in January and will likely be playing her first game for the team on Sunday. Cross has played for England’s U-17 and U-19 National Teams, including in the recent La Manga Tournament in Spain.
Admission to Sunday’s match between FC Kansas City and Missouri is free. Kickoff at Audrey J. Walton Soccer Stadium in Columbia, Missouri is set for 4 pm.
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