FC Kansas City

FC Kansas City picks Liberty graduates Shea Groom, Kaysie Clark in NWSL College Draft

Shea Groom celebrated a goal during Liberty’s state title win.
Shea Groom celebrated a goal during Liberty’s state title win. The Kansas City Star

FC Kansas City did not have to look far to find a few new players in the 2015 National Women’s Soccer League College Draft.

The Blues started and ended their day with a pair of Liberty graduates in Shea Groom of Texas A&M at No. 12 and Kaysie Clark of Missouri at No. 35. They also selected Meghan Streight of Texas A&M, Katelyn Rowland of UCLA and Jessica Ayers from Colorado College in the four-round draft.

“We couldn’t be more excited in a lot of different ways,” Blues technical director Huw Williams said. “Our goal was to get high-quality players to FC Kansas City, but if we can get high-quality players from Kansas City it is even better.”

Williams said that even if they had a higher pick, the Blues still would have selected Groom based his experience coaching both her and Clark on youth teams. He coached them to an under-18 national championship.

Groom, who plays as a forward and midfielder, capped a decorated college career with 16 goals and seven assists in 26 matches last season. She ranked third in the Southeastern Conference and 19th in the nation for goals, which helped her win the SEC Offensive Player of the Year award. She recorded 41 goals and 25 assists in 84 career matches for the Aggies.

Clark had three goals and 11 assists during her senior season which earned her a spot on the all-SEC first team. Her 11 assists rank fourth on Missouri’s single-season list and her 22 career assists rank fifth. She started 78 of her 81 career games with the Tigers and finished with 15 goals and 22 assists.

The Blues didn’t stray far for their next second pick either.

While she was not local, Streight is Groom’s Texas A&M teammate. Steight, a defender who hails from McKinney, Texas, started every game for the Aggies this year with two goals and three assists. She was the 16th pick of the draft.

With the next pick, the Blues grabbed Rowland, who was named the Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Year. She set NCAA records for career shutouts (55) and single-season shutouts (19). Rowland, a Vacaville, Calif., native, also holds the UCLA record with a 0.245 goals-against average.

The Blues traded their 19th pick to Washington in exchange for the Spirit’s first two second-round picks next year, but got back to drafting later in the third round.

At No. 26, the Blues selected Ayers from Colorado College. The midfielder from Seattle finished second on her team with eight goals this season, which left her in a tie for third place in program history with 32 career goals.

To reach Kathleen Gier, call 816-234-4875 or send email to kgier@kcstar.com.

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