Playing on their new field recently at Swope Soccer Village was a milestone for FC Kansas City women’s soccer players and a bit familiar for forward Frances Silva.
Silva’s special relationship with Swope Soccer Village started during her high school days, when the Blue Valley North High School graduate played a few club matches on the field. She also played at the facility when her West Virginia squad won the Big 12 Championship title in 2013. She was drafted the next January by the FC Kansas City Blues, who brought her back home.
“That was the first year they had that new field out there, so we christened it nicely,” Silva said.
Silva and the Blues were able to repeat that magic on April 23 in their home opener at Swope Soccer Village, when they defeated Seattle Reign FC 1-0 in a rematch of last year’s National Women’s Soccer League championship.
FC Kansas City improved to 2-2-0 with a 2-0 road victory over the Houston Dash last Saturday.
“It’s good to come back and know what to expect,” said Silva, who starts her second year with the club. “As one of the returners, it is fun to watch this team grow, watch the rookies step in and see the players that we’ve added grow as well.”
Though FC Kansas City officially opened its season recently at Sporting Park, the Blues have embraced Swope Soccer Village as their home. They will play eight more matches there before the end of the season. The next chance to see them will be at 7 p.m. on May 14, when they play host to the Western New York Flash.
Silva and her three Kansas City area teammates — Mandy Laddish of Lee’s Summit and the Liberty twosome of Kaysie Clark and Shea Groom — are a symbol of the team’s dedication to growing the soccer community in Kansas City.
Laddish was drafted out of Notre Dame in Silva’s class, and Clark and Groom were added in the 2015 NWSL College Draft.
“It’s so different being able to be around people comfortably and my family gets to come to every game,” Groom said. “The atmosphere that FCKC brings in practice and games is awesome.”
Groom is the only Kansas City area player who has seen the field in the regular season, with 123 minutes across four games, including one start. She scored her first professional goal on Saturday against Houston.
The Blues’ game on April 23 was the final game with their four players who now move on to play with the United States Women’s National Team — Lauren Holiday, Heather O’Reilly, Amy Rodriguez and Becky Sauerbrunn. The national team will compete in the upcoming Women’s World Cup.
Silva and Groom are candidates to replace Rodriguez at forward. Laddish and Clark could sub in for O’Reilly or Holiday at midfield. Silva played in 18 matches, with two goals and an assist, in her rookie season. Laddish, meanwhile, appeared in two matches.
“I’m supposed to be doing the same stuff, but we have different players and different formations,” Silva said. “It’s different, but now that the World Cup players are gone, we’ll see what happens.”
FC Kansas City’s next match is at 6 p.m. on Friday at the Western New York Flash.