U.S. Women’s National Team players weigh in on KC’s FIFA World Cup soccer bid for 2026

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It took just nine minutes for A.D. Franch to drive from her home to the U.S. Women’s National Team’s hotel in Kansas City.

The 30-year-old goalkeeper is originally from Salina, Kansas, a couple hours’ drive from KC, but she’s made KC her place of residence since being traded from the Portland Thorns to Kansas City’s National Women’s Soccer League club earlier this year.

The opportunity to represent all of the youth clubs she played on as a child, here in her home region with KC NWSL, has already been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And now, on Thursday night, she’ll take the dream one step higher with the USWNT.

Franch is one of two goalkeepers on the USWNT roster for two fixtures against Korea Republic. The first will be played Thursday at Sporting Kansas City’s home stadium, Children’s Mercy Park — which will also serve as KC NWSL’s home stadium starting next season.

“Having a game back here at home is pretty surreal,” she said. “A little bit of a full circle. It’s kind of been a little bit of my journey throughout all of this.”

There’s no guarantee that Franch will start Thursday’s match. The KC NWSL goalkeeper has competition for the starting spot from Houston’s Jane Campbell — the 26-year-old Campbell is most likely the long-term starter for the U.S. and has already made six appearances. Franch, 30, has made nine.

USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski said Wednesday that both goalkeepers will be on the field at some point in the next two games, but he hadn’t decided on their exact assignments yet.

Even if that means a player missing out on the opportunity to play in her home state and in front of her hometown fans.

“It’s a very competitive environment,” he said. “We have to put the team that we believe is going to give us the best chance to get success and be successful.”

The USWNT-Korea game kicks off at 7 p.m. Central Time on Thursday.

KC2026 World Cup bid

Thursday’s USWNT-Korea game coincides with FIFA’s site visit to KC ahead of a decision about which 11 U.S. cities will host World Cup games in 2026.

Alex Morgan hugs USWNT teammate Megan Rapinoe during a match in 2019. The U.S. Women’s National Team plays Korea Republic in Kansas City, Kan., Thursday night.
Alex Morgan hugs USWNT teammate Megan Rapinoe during a match in 2019. The U.S. Women’s National Team plays Korea Republic in Kansas City, Kan., Thursday night.

The FIFA delegation was scheduled to tour facilities around the city and then attend Thursday night’s match. And USWNT players, like the USMNT players who recently played in KC, might like Kansas City’s chances of being selected.

USMNT defender Walker Zimmerman said during the men’s team’s visit that he could see a giant “WE WANT THE WORLD CUP” banner in the Crossroads Arts District from his room at the team hotel. USWNT fan favorite Alex Morgan now has that same view.

“If that doesn’t say bring the World Cup here, I don’t know what does,” Morgan said. “If that doesn’t say that Kansas City is full of soccer fans, then I don’t know what does.”

Morgan spent about half a year here in 2015 when her husband, Servando Carrasco, played for Sporting KC.

“I saw sold-out crowds every single game that Sporting Kansas City had,” Morgan said. “And the women’s team here, I’m hopeful, and they seem very ambitious and have high hopes for the future of the team here.”

USWNT captain Becky Sauerbrunn, who played for the former FC Kansas City women’s team from 2013-17 and won a pair of NWSL championships here, also had nothing but kind words for KC and its World Cup bid.

“I think it would be a great moment for the city itself to be able to host a World Cup game,” she said. “I’m sure it would be done spectacularly ...

“Absolutely a soccer city, would love to see it continue to thrive as a soccer city, so yeah, bring all the games to Kansas City.”

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