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Kansas City Current teen midfield sensation Claire Hutton ‘exceeds expectations’

18-year-old New York native played boys soccer in high school
Jessie Fleming, Claire Hutton
Pan American Games Soccer
Posted at 6:04 PM, May 08, 2024

RIVERSIDE, Mo. — Midfielder Claire Hutton is one of three players who’ve logged all 630 minutes for the unbeaten Kansas City Current this season, but she’s the only one to do it less than four months after her 18th birthday.

“I didn't expect that (to start every game as a rookie),” Hutton said. “But I think just kind of coming in with the mindset that the spot was open and it was for anyone's taking kind of put that position open for me."

The Current signed Hutton, a captain for the U.S. U17 Women’s National team, to a three-year contract in December. She wouldn’t turn 18 until a month later.

Pan American Games Soccer
Claire Hutton of the United States, right, celebrates scoring against Argentina during the women's soccer bronze medal match at the Pan American Games in Valparaiso, Chile, Friday, Nov. 3, 2023.

Hutton plays a game-wrecking defensive midfield role, thwarting the other teams attack with her physical presence and igniting the counter attack with her precision passing.

Current coach Vlatko Andonovski said Hutton’s performance in training camp left no doubt she belonged in the league — and has a chance to become a star.

“We see her every day in training and we saw her in preseason matches,” Andonovski said. “She showed that she can take the role that she has right now — and not just that, but take it to the next level as well.”

Andonoski, a former U.S. Women’s National Team coach, was already familiar with Hutton, the wunderkind from Bethlehem, New York, well before she signed with the Current.

“Obviously, she’s an incredible talent, incredible potential and, I have to say, she has exceeded our expectations so far,” Andonovski said.

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That includes the fact that she played for the boys team as a junior in high school before graduating early after signing a pro contract.

Bethlehem junior Claire Hutton (No. 11,) who is playing with the boys varsity team this year, during a game against Colonie at Colonie High School in Colonie, NY, on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022.

“Of course, we knew a little bit more about her than people think,” Andonovski said.

When scheduling conflicts prevented her from playing girls soccer as a junior, Hutton welcomed the challenge of playing against the boys.

“Playing with the boys, I wasn't going to play high school anymore just because I had commitments with the national team, so it was hard playing high school and that,” she said. “Then, the opportunity came up from the girls high school coach actually. He asked me if I'd want to do it, so I decided to do it.”

Bethlehem's Claire Hutton, center, clears a ball from her half during a Class AA boys' soccer quarterfinal match against Guilderland on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, at Guilderland High School in Guilderland, N.Y.

That experience helped toughen Hutton up and give her confidence — traits that have helped her make the transition to pro soccer.

“I just got to play with bigger, stronger, faster kids, because obviously boys have another level to them,” Hutton said. “That in itself taught me a lot of things. Now, being able to come in with this team and again playing bigger, stronger, faster girls, it's just kind of another stepping stone and a chance for me just to keep getting better.”

Bethlehem junior Claire Hutton, who is playing with the boys varsity team, fights for position with Colonie defender Andrew Trimarchi during a game at Colonie High School in Colonie, NY, on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022.

That’s always Hutton’s goal — improving.

“If you know Claire well, you know that she won’t settle for anything,” Andonovski said. “She wants to get better at every little thing. She's a total footballer. Her life revolves around the game and her main goal is just to get better every day.”

Even for the veterans on the Current roster, it’s been an impressive sight to see from the teenager.

“I could not imagine myself doing that,” Current defender Hailie Mace said. “But I think she's done a really good job. She doesn't act like she's 18 at all. Her presence on the field, you wouldn't know she's younger than us, so she's fitting in really well.”