The regular season for the National Women’s Soccer League kicks off this weekend, and two former Mountaineers find themselves together again.
Midfielder Frances Silva was drafted by FC Kansas City 19th overall in January after wrapping up a stellar career at WVU. During her senior season, she led the Big 12 with 15 goals, 13 assists and 43 points. Her performance on the field earned her a place on the All Big 12 First-Team en route to helping the Mountaineers win the first ever Big 12 Soccer Tournament.
She will be joined by Goalie Sarah Keane who had her biggest game in a Mountaineer uniform in her last game in the Big 12 Championship against the OSU Cowgirls. She had a career-high nine saves to make it three shutouts in a row during the tourney. In her WVU career she had 26 shutouts.
“I am so excited for both these former Mountaineer standouts to be competing on the highest level in the professional ranks,” WVU Women’s Soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said.
The situation is similar to Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey both getting drafted by the Rams last season. WVU fans won’t have to choose who to cheer for because both Silva and Keane will be on the same team.
“Having them both on the same team makes my job easier,” Izzo-Brown said, “because I wouldn’t have to cheer for one or the other. All jokes aside this is a unique situation that will allow them both to support and grow as professionals together. I am a huge Kansas City fan now.”
According to her college coach, Silva should fit right in with her new club.
“[Silva] will fit in her role great!” Izzo-Brown said. “She is an attacking-minded player that technically can handle the ball to work in [KC head coach Vladko Andonovski's] system well. Her intelligence and passing efficiency will be instrumental to KC style.”
Keane will not be in goal to start the season, but Izzo-Brown can see her taking the starting job as the season progresses.
“[Keane] is such a steady goalkeeper that does her job and that is critical in the goalkeeping position. She will push Nicole Barnhart for the starting job, but also learn and improve her game at this level. Sara has a tremendous presence in goal and will compete for the starting job.”
FC Kansas City will open the NWSL season on April 12th at 8:00 p.m. ET against Sky Blue of New Jersey.