Many draft prognosticators had Kristie Mewis tabbed as the best player available and most likely to be taken with the first pick. So when the Red Stars and Spirit passed on her FC Kansas City did not hesitate to draft the midfielder out of Boston College.
“Kristen was No. 1 all along the process,” Vlatko Andonovski told The Equalizer after making Mewis the club’s first-ever draft pick. “Just that fact that we had the chance to draft her no. 1 makes it exciting.”
Mewis is a quick, attacking midfielder with extensive experience in the U.S. youth system. Her still burgeoning soccer career has taken her to places like New Zealand for the U-17 World Cup and Canberra where she recently made two appearances in Australia’s W-League. Yet one place Mewis is not familiar with is the Midwest.
“I don’t know too much about Kansas City. I’ve never really visited out in the Midwest or lived out there in my life,” said the 21-year old who has been to camp with the senior national team but is not yet capped. “I think it’s going to be a change and it’s going to be new. I think that it will be really good for me to be a little bit uncomfortable in a situation just to kind of grow and experience something new. So I’m actually really excited to be going to Kansas City.”
Mewis joins a midfield that already includes U.S. international Lauren Cheney and Canadian veteran Desiree Scott. Free agents have yet to sign with teams officially but Sinead Farrelly, Melissa Henderson, and Leigh Ann Robinson have all been linked to Kansas City.
Asked what she will bring to the team, Mewis was anything but shy during a draft day conference call.
“I don’t really know what position I’ll be playing there, but I’m going to bring everything that I can,” she said. “Hopefully I can use my strengths. I can shoot really well; I have a pretty good cross; and my distribution is pretty good. I think that I’ll be able to connect with the midfielders and the forwards in the attack. Hopefully I bring my A-game. I hope that the fans really like me. I hear that the Kansas City fans are (some) of the best so I’m really excited.”
Of her new teammates, Mewis is already thrilled at the prospect of playing alongside Cheney and U.S. national team defender Becky Sauberbrunn.
“I absolutely love them as players. I think (Becky) is such a great defender. She’s so possession oriented and she’s so quick and fast. Lauren Cheney is probably my favorite that I’ve ever played with. I just love the style and the way that she plays. And of course Nicole Barnhart is a great goalkeeper. So I’m so excited that I get a chance to play with some of the players that I really idolize.”
One sign of a great player is an ability to perform in all conditions. When Mewis went to Australia both of her games with Canberra United were in adverse weather conditions, according to U.S. national team coach and former Australia boss Tom Sermanni. Yet Mewis was still able to score a goal in both games.
The Blues are at or near the top of most observers’ charts for best team on paper with about half of rosters accounted for. And in Mewis they have one of the few college players that should be ready to make a large contribution right out of the gate.