FC Kansas City

After breakout season, Shea Groom will return for another year with FC Kansas City

FC Kansas City forward Shea Groom (2) controls the ball against the Seattle Reign FC during the game on June 25, 2016, at the Swope Soccer Village.
FC Kansas City forward Shea Groom (2) controls the ball against the Seattle Reign FC during the game on June 25, 2016, at the Swope Soccer Village. Special to the Star

FC Kansas City’s leading scorer will return for a third season with the Blues.

Liberty’s Shea Groom, who was fifth in the NWSL with eight goals in a breakout 2016 season, re-signed with the club on Thursday.

“Another season in my favorite place!” Groom, who turns 24 on Saturday, wrote on Twitter after the announcement.

Groom is back for her third run at the league playoffs, only this year she’ll have the help of fellow forwards Sydney Leroux and Amy Rodriguez. The two USWNT veterans became pregnant before the 2016 season and missed the entire year, including appearances in the Rio Olympics. That left Groom to lead the offense virtually on her own.

Although Groom played with Rodriguez on the Blues’ 2015 championship team, she has yet to compete alongside Leroux.

Groom was selected 12th overall in the 2015 College Draft and has since appeared in 32 games, including 28 starts, for FCKC. She started 19 games and missed just one match last year.

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She also earned a U.S. women’s national team call-up in October ahead of friendlies against Switzerland.

Last Tuesday, Groom was spotted training with the Aggies at Texas A&M, where she played four years and was a three-time All-SEC performer. She scored 41 goals in college, a mark that ranks sixth in A&M history.

Groom graduated from Liberty High in 2011. She was named the Gatorade Missouri Player of the Year as a junior and a senior, the same years she led the Lady Jays to Class 3 state championships.

“I’m very happy to have Shea back this year,” Blues head coach Vlatko Andonovski said in a release. “I think she did an excellent job last season and I’m excited about coaching her this season and into the future.”

FCKC opens the 2017 season with a home match against the Boston Breakers on April 16 at 5 p.m.

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