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Blue Notes: KC Current’s Darian Jenkins Traded to Orlando, Kaw Valley Coach, MLS SuperDraft

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Portland Thorns FC v Kansas City
Natalia Kuikka #14 of the Portland Thorns handles the ball while defended by Darian Jenkins #13 of Kansas City during a game between Portland Thorns FC and Kansas City at Legends Field on October 10, 2021 in Kansas City, Kansas.
Photo by Amy Kontras/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Lost in the craziness that was yesterday’s news was yet another trade for the Kansas City Current. This time, it was a player on her way out. Darian Jenkins was dealt to the Orlando Pride in exchange for the Pride’s natural second round pick in the 2023 NWSL College Draft along with another $75,000 in allocation money.

This trade comes just a year after the Current previously acquired Jenkins from OL Reign along with a 2022 fourth round pick (and the rights to Meg Brandt) in exchange for forward Tziarra King and a second round pick.

The acquisition of both allocation money and another draft pick will help offset the deal earlier this week where Kansas City acquired USWNT forward Lynn Williams. It’s a shame to not see Jenkins paired with Williams and new midfielder Sam Mewis in the attack, but Kansas City have too many players under contract if they re-sign all the players they made contract offers to. Moves had to be made and will continue to need to be made.

In her time in KC, Jenkins started 18 games across 22 appearances where she added three goals.

There should be more news in the coming weeks as the preseason starts on February 1st (though rumors are players may not show up as CBA negotiations are ongoing). The first matches start March 19th, for the preseason competition the NWSL Challenge Cup.

Kaw Valley Have a Coach for their USL W League Team

Jessica Smith (no relation) was announced as the coach for Kaw Valley’s W League team. It will be the inaugural season for the USL W League as they enter the world of Women’s football.

Smith is the coach of the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) women’s soccer team. She has her USSF A Senior coaching license and has previously coached for both Kansas State and the University of Kansas women’s soccer teams. For K-State she was there when the program started and rose to Associate Head Coach in 2018. For KU, she was an assistant coach as well from 2011-2015.

“We’re extremely excited to have Jess join the Kaw Valley FC family,” said KVFC President & General Manager Marcus Dudley. “Not only does Jess bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to our program, she is an outstanding leader and an extremely talented recruiter. I’ve known Jess personally for several years. She served as the Director of the Girls Academy for Sporting Kaw Valley from 2011-2014 where I was able to witness her passion, leadership, and coaching abilities first hand. In addition, Jess cares deeply about her players, she is an amazing ambassador of the game, and she is a fantastic coach, mentor and role model. I can think of no one better to serve as the first head coach for KVFC’s women’s team.”

I’ve heard from several people that Smith is a coach on the rise, as is evident by her previous selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) for its 30-Under-30 Coaching Program.

“I’m so excited and grateful for the opportunity to lead the Cranes this upcoming season and humbled to coach in the USL W League whose core mission it is to not only grow the women’s game but to use women’s soccer as a force for societal good by creating a national platform to increase opportunity, gender equity, and career development for women. These all represent goals that I’m both personally committed to and passionate about, and I’d like to thank Marcus Dudley, and the Board of Directors, for the amazing opportunity to serve as the inaugural head coach of the Kaw Valley FC USL W women’s team. I can’t wait to get started,” said Smith.

Prior to her coaching career, Smith played with the University of Kansas from 2002-2005. The inaugural USL W League schedule will be released in mid-February.

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