From a surprise dinner at Gram & Dun on the Plaza to a colorful bouquet at practice, FC Kansas City wanted to make sure Sarah Hagen’s special day did not go uncelebrated.
It succeeded and even had the 25-year-old forward fighting back tears at practice on the 10-year anniversary of reaching remission after doctors found a tumor on her left ovary.
“They got me pretty good,” Hagen said. “It’s something I like to celebrate, and being away from my family makes it a little more difficult, but the girls made me feel really appreciated.”
Hagen, who goes by Apple for her hometown of Appleton, Wis., jumped right into the action when she joined the Blues midway through last season. She scored four goals and notched an assist in her first nine games for the National Women’s Soccer League champions.
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“As far as how far I have gone in my soccer career, I couldn’t really ask for anything more,” Hagen said. “I want to continue to be an inspiration for other people battling cancer.”
She does not have a goal yet this year but already has two assists and has played all four games.
“First, she is an incredible person, and we are so happy to have her on the team,” coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “She has played with so much more confidence after the game against Seattle. She had a great game in Houston, and I think the best of Apple is coming.”
Now she and the Blues turn their attention to the Western New York Flash. They will play back-to-back matches against the Flash starting at 6 p.m. Friday at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, N.Y. The Blues played to a 1-1 tie in their last trip to New York but have never won there.
The Blues come in with two straight victories and a 2-2-0 record, which is tied for third in the NWSL. Their last victory came without U.S. Women’s National Team call-ups Amy Rodriguez, Lauren Holiday, Becky Sauerbrunn and Heather O’Reilly.
The Flash will also be shorthanded, missing Sydney Leroux and Whitney Engen.
FC Kansas City at Western N.Y.
▪ WHEN: 6 tonight
▪ LIVE STREAM: YouTube