Women’s World Cup, KC Current give local girls new goals for the future

Published: Jul. 20, 2023 at 10:25 PM CDT
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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (KCTV) - The U.S. Women’s National Team (USNWT) begins its effort to score a record-setting three back-to-back World Cup wins when they take on Vietnam on Friday night.

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup began on Thursday in Australia and New Zealand.

Out at the Sheels Overland Park Soccer Complex, a group of boys and girls was participating in Kansas City Surf’s summer soccer skills camp, excited to turn on the television Friday.

“We have two girls and they are so excited,” said soccer mom Maria Wilt. “They both play soccer.”

“I believe in them. I really do,” her daughter, Sam Wilt, said of the USNWT.

But, at some level, their local women’s team connects with them even more.

“Getting so close to them and her getting to see it in front of her really kind of brings it out,” said Brandon Molina. “I can see it in her eyes. It adds that extra twinkle in her eye.”

His daughter, Niyah, was participating in the summer soccer camp.

Not long ago, Kansas City’s professional women’s team — FC Kansas City — practiced on rec fields at Swope Soccer Village. Only 11 years ago, matches took place on a college field at UMKC. FC Kansas City folded in 2017.

Then, along came the KC Current. Just three years old as a team, they are building what will be the first dedicated women’s pro soccer stadium in the world.

“It’s going to be really cool to have the first stadium for women,” said Niyah Molina.

The girls’ coach, David Driscoll, has lived in other cities in the United States as well as in England. He considers the KC Current as standing above other women’s professional teams.

“I’ll say it simply: Because they are investing so much into what the product means,” Driscoll articulated. “To build that and generate that and then be like a symbol for what women’s soccer can be in the country. That’s 100% KC Current.”

A feat like KC Current Stadium brings visibility and he said that inspires the girls he coaches.

“It gives them something to aim for,” he said. “The youth platform of soccer, it’s: ‘Can I get to college?’ High School, then ‘Can I get to college?’ Now, there is a vision that, ‘Hey, maybe I can play for KC Current. That wasn’t there previously.”

Brandon Molina said, coincidentally, Niyah brought up just that in the car on the way to camp Thursday.

“She was discussing how she wants to be on [the] Current and that was her aspiration,” he said. “It was kind of the first time we had that discussion.”

“They started on a small field like this and look at the KC Current now. I mean, they’re on a global strategic level almost,” said Maria Wilt. “It’s good for the players. It’s good for Kansas City. And, it’s good to motivate kids everywhere.”

KC Current Stadium, located at Berkley Riverfront Park, is expected to be completed for the team’s home opener in March of 2024.

The Kansas City Power & Light District will be partnering with Sporting KC and the KC Current to host watch parties at KC Live! for the USNWT’s opening two matches for the Women’s World Cup. Events begin 90 minutes prior to the 8 p.m. kickoff on Friday. Tickets for admission are free and can be reserved here.