Shea Groom had to relearn how to walk.
Groom, an FC Kansas City forward, broke the second metatarsal in her right foot last season, removing six weeks from her solid rookie season. That injury, she said, put her back at square one both physically and developmentally.
Now, Groom has become one of the few offensive bright spots on an FCKC team that is finally riding a wave of momentum.
The Blues will try to add onto their two-game unbeaten streak in a 7:30 match Sunday at Houston.
“Obviously the injury last year slowed it down a little bit,” FCKC coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “But she came in right where she stopped and she’s been a big piece of the puzzle this year.”
That puzzle has been inconsistent: The reigning NWSL champions didn’t get their first win until the seventh game of the season, and have had trouble scoring. FCKC has five goals in eight games.
Groom’s two goals are tied for the most on the teamwith Yael Averbuch. The one she scored last week landed FCKC in a 1-1 draw with Sky Blue FC, creating the team’s first unbeaten streak of the year.
“She’s got that hunger for scoring goals and very good feeling in and around the box,” Andonovski said. “Inside of the box, she manages to get a touch on the ball more often than anybody else.”
It’s her persistence, her nose for the ball that has both frustrated and dazzled at times.
“Vlatko says all the time, I’m just running around like crazy, but sometimes it works out,” Groom said. “I love scoring goals, though. I think you can tell when I score; it kind of erupts all over my facial expression. It never gets old.”
As FCKC travels to Houston on Sunday, the team will do so with a still-developing Groom. Her progression, especially offensively, is something Andonovski sees as a key to the team continuing its newfound momentum.
“She realizes she’s one that the team depends on,” Andonovski said. “She’s obviously our go-to person around the box and one thing that’s promising is she gets better every game. … I think she’s got a lot of potential, and she still hasn’t reached her full potential.”