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The Tea(L): The KC Current look ahead to 2022

While the club celebrated off-field major announcements in 2021, Kansas City is set to become a more competitive team for 2022 and beyond.

Houston Dash v Kansas City Photo by Amy Kontras/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The NWSL returned to Kansas City in 2021, an unexpected return after the franchise in Utah ceased operations in December 2020, immediately allowing for the ownership group of Chris and Angie Long and Brittany Matthews to bring back a team to KC. There was a bit of hesitation from NWSL fans about Kansas City having another NWSL team, especially after the previous version, FC Kansas City, ceased operations as well.

This time, however, it would be different as the Long/Matthews ownership group proved that the investment was a long-term commitment, and as the year went by, the club revealed significant plans to make KC a leader in the NWSL. What Kansas City was able to accomplish in 2021 went beyond a winning record.

2021 highlights

As the season neared its end and playoffs were well beyond reach, the club focused on the future. In September, KC unveiled plans for the team’s new $15-million training facility in Riverside, Missouri, all privately-funded by the team’s owners. The training facility is expected to be completed this year.

That same month, the team announced plans to play its 2022 season at Children’s Mercy Park, moving to a soccer-specific stadium. It was a move that was greatly celebrated after spending the inaugural season at Legends Field, a baseball stadium about a mile away. Though Legends was far better than Swope Soccer Village, it is not suitable for soccer, and throughout the season, the patching meant to cover the dirt in the infield was becoming more and more noticeable.

Just before announcing the team’s official brand, the club announced its biggest investment: plans to construct the first soccer stadium purpose-built for a National Women’s Soccer League team, located on the east end of the Berkley Riverfront in Kansas City, Missouri, with a capacity of 11,000. The estimated $70-million project will also be entirely privately financed through the ownership group. It’s scheduled to be completed for the 2024 season.

Finally, after playing under a temporary crest and as KC NWSL for the 2021 season, the team revealed its team name as the Kansas City Current, crest, and colors at halftime of its final match of the year.

2022 & beyond

There’s much for the KC Current fan to be excited about as we entered 2022. Since the end of the 2021 season, the Current added U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Samantha Mewis after a trade with the North Carolina Courage, re-signed key players including Elizabeth Ball, Lo LaBonta, Hallie Mace, and Kristen Hamilton, and 2021 head coach Huw Williams shifted to a technical/recruiting identification role with the club, allowing the club to a search for a new head coach. The club confirmed to The Blue Testament that the search is progressing, and there should be some news soon.

What 2022 holds for on-field performance will depend on the new head coach, and while we celebrated off-field major announcements, Kansas City is ready for a competitive team for 2022 and beyond, and for the the city to become a place that attracts players because of its legacy and the owners’ commitment and investments, such as the ones that brought a player like Sam Mewis to the Current.

The Kansas City Current preseason kicks off February 1, with the 2022 Challenge Cup starting March 19 as the official beginning of the season.