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Soccer fans recall 1st NWSL game ahead of KC Current opener at CPKC Stadium

Fan outside new CPKC stadium
Posted at 10:47 PM, Mar 12, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The historic season opener for the KC Current is on Saturday, and for some local soccer fans it's a full-circle moment.

Several people who will be at the opening match at the new CPKC stadium were there when the National Women's Soccer League first kicked off.

Kaija Dewsbury was there right from the start of the NWSL in 2013 at its first game at the Shawnee Mission District Stadium.

"We were all very excited, but also just, really? This is it?" she said. "This is where the top level people are playing? This is what you aspire to?"

It's a nice stadium, but it was designed for high schoolers.

“The men have these great stadiums, it seems, like actual professional stadiums," Dewsbury said. "And a high school stadium? It definitely felt like settling."

Colin Janicek was there too. He says the moment felt delicate. At the time, several other women's leagues had already come and gone.

“How fragile it felt being at a high school stadium watching a professional soccer game," he said.

Despite the humble beginnings, the league, teams, and support grew over the last 10 years.

Now, both fans will be at the start of a new beginning — KC Current's home opener at the historic and long-deserved CPKC Stadium.

"Help them grow, help show that there is interest here and that what they're doing is the right thing because we do support women's sports," Dewsbury said.

It's been more than a decade in the making, but this moment is monumental.

The stadium is a monument to how far the National Women's Soccer League has come.

"Little girls growing up, trying to show them what's possible out there and you are able to drive down I-29 and see a soccer stadium built for her and other children like her, I mean how awesome is that?" Janicek said. "It feels more permanent. It feels like a statement's really being made. We're here, we're ready to get behind the ladies and support them however we can."