NWSL announces that FC Kansas City will cease operations
Current members of FC Kansas City roster will be transferred to new Real Salt Lake club
Game action from a 2017 home game for FC Kansas City. (Photo: Amy Kontras/isiphotos.com)
Game action from a 2017 home game for FC Kansas City. (Photo: Amy Kontras/isiphotos.com)

On Monday, the NWSL announced that it has re-acquired FC Kansas City LLC’s membership interest in the league. Effectively immediately, the NWSL is ceasing operations of the club.

“First, we’d like to recognize and thank Elam Baer and FC Kansas City LLC for their efforts this past year. We appreciate his commitment in helping the NWSL move forward,” said NWSL Managing Director of Operations Amanda Duffy in the official release. “As the league moves on, and as difficult as it is to share this news about FC Kansas City, we feel it is in the best interest of the league and the players at this time.

“Most importantly, we would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank all the fans and the city of Kansas City for their support of this club, the league and the sport over the past five years.”

As previously announced, the new club owned by Real Salt Lake will replace Kansas City and play its home matches at Rio Tinto Stadium. This new club will play in the 2018 season, the sixth season of the National Women’s Soccer League.

FC Kansas City’s players currently on the roster will be transferred to the new Salt Lake City club before the start of the 2018 season. In addition, Salt Lake will also receive Kansas City’s picks in the 2018 NWSL College Draft, as well as their spots in the Discovery and Waiver Tie-Breakers and Distribution Ranking Order.

Real Salt Lake’s club will also receive the No. 1 overall pick in the first round of the 2019 College Draft.

“This is the best and necessary decision for the future of the league and the players who have impressively represented NWSL and Kansas City over the past five years,” said Elam Baer, former owner of FC Kansas City, in the official release.

Over their five years in the league as one of the eight founding members, FC Kansas City earned plenty of success, including 47 wins and 27 draws across the five seasons, good enough for third most wins all-time in the NWSL.

After they hosted Portland Thorns FC in the NWSL’s inaugural match on April 13, 2013, they also made the playoffs in all three of the first three years of the league. They won back-to-back NWSL Championships in 2014 and 2015.

The Blues also picked up league awards, especially in 2013. Lauren Holiday scored 12 goals that year, leading the league, and earned the 2013 Most Valuable Player award. That inaugural year, Nicole Barnhart also won Goalkeeper of the Year, Erika Tymrak won Rookie of the Year, and Vlakto Andonovski won Coach of the Year. Becky Sauerbrunn also began her three-year reign as Defender of the Year in 2013 through 2015.

Sauerbrunn also was voted to the NWSL Best XI in all five seasons of the league. Barnhart owns the record for most shutouts in league history with 38, and forward Amy Rodriguez scored the game-winning goal in both of KC’s back-to-back championships.

“I will always be a fan of the game, the league, our players and, above all, our fans,” Baer said. “I wish the NWSL a bright future and our former FC Kansas City players continued success in their careers on and off the field.  I am sure the players will add another championship to the two they already brought to Kansas City.”

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