The Kansas City Current made two big additions to their roster Wednesday when they announced the signing of two veteran free agents through the 2024 season. Midfielders Morgan Gautrat and Vanessa DiBernardo each sign two-year contracts. They become the first free agents signed by Kansas City under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
“Morgan and Vanessa are two of the world’s best soccer players and we couldn’t be happier they chose the Kansas City Current,” said general manager Camille Levin Ashton via press release. “They will have an immediate impact on this team and certainly their immense talent, experience, and leadership skills fit perfectly with our mission to be the best women’s football club in the world.”
Morgan Gautrat will wear the number 2 for the Current. Gautrat, née Morgan Brian, was drafted first overall by the Houston Dash where she played from 2015 until she was traded to the Chicago Red Stars in 2017. Prior to being drafted, Gautrat was a standout player at the University of Virginia from 2011-2014. She was named to several All-Conference and All-Regional teams while scoring 41 goals and 43 assists and was nominated for the MAC Hermann Trophy three times, winning the award in 2013 and 2014.
Gautrat has made 88 appearances with the U.S. Women’s National Team including the 2015 and 2019 FIFA World Cups and the 2016 Olympics.
“I am beyond excited to be joining the KC Current family! The ownership, the facilities, the staff, the team and the resources are world class,” said Gautrat. “I am grateful for the opportunity to call this club home and to help the team in any way that I can. I can’t wait to play in front of the amazing fans and hopefully bring back a trophy to Kansas City! KC BABY!”
Vanessa DiBernardo will wear the number 16 for the Current. DeBernardo is a Naperville, Illinois native and played collegiately at the University of Illinois before being drafted by her hometown team fourth overall in the 2014 draft.
DeBernardo was named to the Hermann Trophy Watch List three times and earned the 2014 Big Ten Medal of Honor. She cokmpleted her collegiate career with school records for assists (22) and shots (325) and in 2020 she was inducted into the University of Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame.
After being drafted by the Chicago Red Stars, DeBernado was instrumental in her clubs success. She is the club record holder for Minutes Played (12,465), Games Played (155) and Assists (22) and coming into the 2023 season DiBernardo ranks eighth all-time in assists and second in corner kicks (329) for the NWSL.
“I’m so excited to be joining Kansas City and starting a new chapter in my career,” said DiBernardo. “What this club is doing for the game, their players and this league is special, and I’m grateful to get the opportunity to be a part of it. I can’t wait to get started and help this team in any way I can to push for a championship!”
Big moves for Kansas City
Gautrat and DiBernardo were two of the big names in the NWSL free agent list this offseason. For the Current to get two teammates that know each other well, already have chemistry and have both contributed to the Red Stars success is a testament to the Current’s ambitions.
After making a great run to the NWSL Final last season, Kansas City is not resting on their laurels.