Kansas City NWSL Acquires South Alum Adrianna Franch

KANSAS CITY (August 17, 2021) — Kansas City NWSL announced the acquisition of U.S. Women’s National Team and Portland Thorns FC goalkeeper Adrianna Franch in a trade. In exchange, the Thorns FC receive goalkeeper Abby Smith and $150,000 in allocation money.

“Bringing AD home is an important strategic move for our team as we continue to add exceptional players who immediately make our club better. AD is one of the best goalkeepers to ever play in the NWSL and is a leader on and off the pitch,” said Kansas City Director of Sport and Chief Soccer Officer Christian Lavers.

Franch has eight appearances for the U.S. Women’s National Team, and most recently played in two matches as the U.S. took home the Bronze in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Furthermore, she was a member of the U.S. 2019 FIFA World Cup championship team. Her first call to camp with the senior national team was in 2012, and then again in 2013, 2016 and 2018. She made her senior team debut in February 2019 as the U.S. battled to a 2-2 draw against England in the SheBelieves Cup.

Franch was the first goalkeeper and sixth overall pick in the Inaugural 2013 NWSL Draft, taken by the Western New York Flash. She led her team to the first NWSL Shield (given to the best team in the regular season) and to the first NWSL Championship match.

She missed the 2014 season due to injury, and spent the 2015 season with Avaldsnes IL in Norway. In 2016, the Orlando Pride owned her NWSL rights, and traded her, Emily Sonnett and Meghan Klingenberg to Portland for Alex Morgan.

Franch is an accomplished keeper in the NWSL, ranking first all-time with a 0.95 Goals Against Average (Kansas City’s Katelyn Rowland is second with a 1.00 Goals Against Average). She is tied with Chicago’s Alyssa Naeher for second in clean sheets (33) and her 296 saves are fourth best in league history.

Her accolades continue with Goalkeeper of the Year honors in 2017 and 2018, Best XI selections in 2017 and 2018, Second XI in 2013, three NWSL Finals appearances and the 2017 NWSL Championship. After winning the NWSL title in 2017, she was recognized as the CONCACAF Female Goalkeeper of the Year.

“This move is even more special to me as my life and career have come full-circle and I’m proud to represent the greater Kansas City area and play in front of the community,” said Franch. “I know what Angie and Chris Long are capable of and what their commitment is to the club and our sport. I am very excited to see what the future holds for my new club.”

The move to Kansas City will be a homecoming of sorts for Franch. Born in Salina, Kansas, she grew up idolizing Brianna Scurry as she excelled at soccer and basketball for Salina South High School. Collegiately, she played for Oklahoma State University, where she still ranks sixth in NCAA history and holds the school record for career shutouts (38).

Smith joined the Utah Royals in 2018, and then moved to Kansas City with the team for its inaugural season. She entered the 2021 season with 38 appearances and a 1.37 goals against average, making four appearances for Utah in the 2020 Challenge Cup and three more in the 2020 Fall Series. This season, Smith played in six matches for Kansas City with a clean sheet and 20 saves made.

Following Kansas City’s first franchise win last weekend, the team heads to face the North Carolina Courage on Saturday, Aug. 21 at 6 p.m. CT. Franch is expected to be available for selection in the match.