After a tumultuous 2016 season that left many fans asking “What’s left?”, FC Kansas City has some big decisions to make on their roster prior to the 2017 season. Sadly, one of their young bright spots, Frances Silva, has made the decision to retire from professional soccer in order to seek out a job opportunity. But, even so, there are still many players set to return for next season who FC Kansas City will ultimately need to decide if they deserve their spot, or if they want to find another player to fill their boots next season.
Although her 2016 season was not as successful as previous seasons, mostly due to being played out of position as a fullback the entire season, Yael is one of the strongest leaders on the team. She has an uncanny ability to inspire her teammates to be the best that they can be, on and off the field. And who else could take those awesome free kicks that sail over the wall and into the back of the net?
Analysis: Stay, but move her to her natural position.
Brittany Taylor is a player who showed strong initiative and smart play during the 2016 season. When Becky Sauerbrunn was on the field, Brittany played right back, when Becky was gone Brittany was moved into center back. She played well in both positions, but because of her defensive background it would have been wise to have played her in center back the entire year. If she returns next year, hopefully it will be as Becky’s partner at center back.
Analysis: Stay, but play as center back.
Katie Bowen & Alex Arlitt
Both of these players were drafted in the 2016 College Draft and they made it to the final roster. Alex was unfortunately out due to injury for a chunk of the 2016, and Katie lost some time while she was finishing up her degree and when she was called to play for the New Zealand national team. Both players showed creative plays with a desire to move up the field. Unfortunately, both players spent the majority of their playing time as left back. In an already crowded roster, could they both stay for the 2017 season?
Analysis: Due to her experience playing internationally, Katie Bowen slightly edges out Alex Arlitt in this position. If one of them has the ability to switch sides, the preferable move would be for them to both stay.
Another player who was drafted in the 2016 College Draft, Brianne Reed entertained fans with her flip throw several times through the season. Brianne mostly played right back when Becky Sauerbrunn was absent for the Olympics and Brittany Taylor shifted into a center back position. At times, it seemed that Brianne didn’t have the same skill on the ball as other players. She seemed to lose the ball a little bit easier than others on the team.
Analysis: Brianne doesn’t have the experience needed to be a starter. Although her flip throws are powerful and fun to watch, it isn’t enough for her to win a roster spot for 2017.
Caroline Kastor, Tiffany McCarty, & Alexa Newfield
With Sydney Leroux and Amy Rodriguez returning from maternity leave, FC Kansas City has an abundance of forwards to choose from next season. All of these players did see quite a bit of playing time in 2016, but with two national team players returning and Shea Groom in the mix it is unlikely any of them will be consistently playing.
Analysis: Tiffany McCarty was successful this past season. She will likely be the only one of the three to remain.
Lo LaBonta stepped in for Desiree Scott while she was out for the Olympics. She was a solid defensive midfielder who held her own. She had a comparable playing style to Desiree and made a like for like replacement.
Analysis: Lo’eau is a very talented player who will unfortunately be passed up for a national team player who has more experience.
This has only been a brief overview of the players who have played for FC Kansas City over the last season. There are others such as Erika Tymrak, Mandy Laddish, and Shea Groom who have proven themselves to be talented players for numerous season. There are also players like Becky Sauerbrunn, Heather O’Reilly, and Desiree Scott who have been successful in both their NWSL careers and also their senior national team careers. All of these players have all but guaranteed themselves a spot on the roster for next season. There is also the question of the 2017 College Draft. Due to the not so successful 2016 season, there will likely be some valuable picks coming to the team.
All in all, the team was unable to come together to be the team that the fans knew they could be last season. They have the building blocks to be another championship winning team; hopefully with these players returning to the pitch next season and the addition of two talented attackers in Sydney Leroux and Amy Rodriguez, they will be able to complete the puzzle and be the team the fans know them to be.