Not long ago, Kansas City’s professional women’s soccer team played matches at Swope Park. The two-time league champion was disbanded in 2017, and a new local women’s soccer team was founded in early 2021 under a generic temporary name.
Last October, the team got a proper name, the Kansas City Current, and a permanent crest. In May, the team’s new jerseys were revealed.
It’s just a start for the team, which is about to get its own stadium, the very first designed specifically for a professional women’s team in North America. The multi-million dollar project at Berkley Riverfront Park is set to open in 2024. In the meantime, the Current plays at Sporting’s stadium.
We talked to Sam Mewis and Desiree Scott, captains of KC Current, about the latest with the team and women’s soccer at large.
Scott is an NWSL veteran with nine years in the league. Last summer, she won an Olympic medal with the Canadian national team. Mewis has three league titles to her name and regularly plays on the U.S. Women’s National Team, where she’s won a World Cup and a bronze medal. She was named the best women’s soccer player in the world by ESPN in 2021 and joined the Current in December.
Desiree, you played here in 2013. At that time, the women’s soccer team played at Swope Park. What’s it like knowing that a stadium is being built specifically for women’s soccer at Berkley Riverfront Park? Scott: We’ve come quite a long way since then, I can tell you that. To see the investment that our current ownership Angie and Chris are putting in to provide us with our own facilities and our own field is incredible.
In 2013 we barely had a locker room. We were in such a small space, we didn’t have a training facility, and we were sharing a field. It just wasn’t a place where we could feel like we could truly shine as professional soccer players. Now, nearly a decade later, we’re seeing investment in the game and in us, and seeing where women’s sports can go is incredible.
Why do you think that development took so long? Mewis: I mean, we’re part of a growing league. Ten years ago, the two prior leagues had folded. So owners and people involved in the business side of things were obviously cautious about investing before making sure that the league was stable.
I think that everybody getting more excited and more eager to invest is a sign in and of itself that the league is more stable. And just generally, women’s soccer is booming right now.
Do you see that boom as a nationwide—or even worldwide—movement? Mewis: I think that women’s soccer is definitely showcasing itself as a good investment worldwide. I definitely think that things are picking up. We get news every week that new stadiums across the world are being sold out and breaking records, and players are getting paid more than ever. I think that there are so many signs pointing to the growth of women’s soccer around the world.
We’re lucky to have such a great example being set here in Kansas City by our owners, our staff and all the fans here who believe in the team and have demonstrated that they don’t want to just stick to the status quo and let old ways of thinking dominate. They want to change things. They want to treat women’s soccer how it deserves to be treated and really use it as a business opportunity.
Scott: We still have a ways to go. I also play on my Canadian national team, and we’re seeing the discrepancies between the men and the women. So the fight is not over in that sense.
Mary Henn is a national award-winning writer with an MFA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is the current associate editor at Kansas City magazine.
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