Some professional athletes, it seems, can play forever: Carli Lloyd, Formiga, Christie Pearce, Christine Sinclair, to name a few. The same can be said for goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, but today, KC NWSL announced that they had waived Barnhart. Her form in 2021 began to show signs of slowing down, and the club had recently acquired goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland from the North Carolina Courage, adding a fourth goalkeeper to the roster. Kansas City had to make another difficult decision, like trading away Amy Rodriguez.
“Nicole Barnhart is one of the best players I have ever had the chance to coach,” said Head Coach Huw Williams. “Barnie has been an important leader, not only for Kansas City, but also for the NWSL as a whole. We are thankful for all that she has done and wish her nothing but the best in her next chapter.”
Whatever that chapter may be is unknown. She could end up in another NWSL club, either as a backup goalkeeper or as a coach. She could remain in Kansas City, continuing with the club in a goalkeeping coaching capacity. Wherever she ends up next, Barnhart is one of the best goalkeepers in the history of the NWSL and her accomplishments are unmatched.
Nicole Barnhart -— RJ Allen (@TheSoccerCritic) July 28, 2021
2013 Goalkeeper of the Year
2014 and 2015 #NWSL champion
52 career shutouts
Barnhart was allocated to FC Kansas City prior to the 2013 season, the inaugural season, along with Lauren Holiday and Becky Sauerbrunn. At the time, she was a member of the US National Team. She was named the Goalkeeper of the Year in 2013 and led FCKC to back-to-back league championships in 2014 and 2015. Her 52 career shutouts are the most in league history, and her 149 appearances are the most of any goalkeeper in league history.
After spending three years in Utah where she made 32 appearances, Barnhart returned to Kansas City as one of the 22 players transferred to the expansion roster for the 2021 season. Barnhart started in seven matches (0-4-3) for Kansas City in 2021, including two Challenge Cup matches and five of the team’s 11 regular season contests. She helped Kansas City to a draw in its inaugural season opener on the road against Louisville on May 15, earning a clean sheet in the match.