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From Kansas City to England and back again, Desiree Scott is ready to lead the Current to a title

Photo copyright Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports.

Desiree Scott is a self-proclaimed homebody. So when the opportunity came up to change her career course and go to England in the winter of 2013-2014, she decided it was time to make the leap.

“I got the opportunity to go and I said ‘if I don’t go now I’ll never go,’ so I wanted to spread my wings and try something different. And I knew this league would be here,” Scott told The Equalizer during Thursday’s National Women’s Soccer League Championship Media Day.

But a funny thing happened during Scott’s two years at Notts County. FC Kansas City, the NWSL side she left behind, won the championship both seasons.

“Obviously proud of the squad for doing it, but obviously to be a part of that would have been very special for me. So I got to experience England, but you want to be winning trophies and championships so I was sad to miss out on that.”

When Scott returned in 2016, the FC Kansas City run was over. Lauren Holiday had retired. Amy Rodriguez got pregnant, and when she returned in 2017, tore her ACL on opening day. Ownership changed as well for 2017 and eventually the club disbanded and player contracts were transferred to Utah. Three years later, that club too went under, and the contracts were sent back to Kansas City to what is now the Current. Scott made both of those moves, and now has a chance to lift that trophy for the city her NWSL career began in nine years ago.

“It feels surreal,” she said.  “Long time coming. This has been something I’ve (had) on my bucket list my entire career. To be here this weekend, taking it all in, it’s incredible.”

As well as being a homebody, Desiree Scott also admits to having a lousy memory. It is so lousy that when the Current clinched a playoff berth, she thought her NWSL playoff debut was on the horizon. Totally out of her mind was the 2013 semifinal when FC Kansas City led the Portland Thorns 2-0 before giving up the lead and losing 3-2 in extra time.

“I almost forgot that I was there in 2013,” she said. Asked if she remembered anything about the loss to the Thorns she said: “I honestly don’t. I have a terrible memory.”

Scott’s memory is not so bad that she forgot where she was for the Current’s first playoff match two weeks ago in Houston. In the team’s regular season game in Louisville which cost the Current a chance to host a postseason game, Scott caught two yellow cards in four minutes during the second half. That earned her a red card and automatic suspension.

Scott often shared defensive midfield duties with Alex Loera and before the match in Houston she told the rookie: “I was like ‘I’m not gonna be out there with you girl so hold it down!’ But no, I said ‘just go and be you. Trust yourself, get on the ball, and the result will come.’” She then watched the game in a private suite at PNC Stadium with her little brother, the team’s massage therapist, and other support staff.

“Very tough,” she recalled. “Obviously you don’t have a hand in being able to dictate and help out on the pitch. I supported them from afar, but all the emotions you get of stress and just hoping they would get it done. But I had a belief that they would get it done no matter what.

“Just a rollercoaster of emotions. It was a pretty back and forth game. The stress of watching that, knowing that with one goal, the game can change in a minute, so I was invested. Fully invested and rooting for my team.”

The final few minutes were particularly frantic with both teams coming close to splitting a 1-1 tie. The Current finally won on a goal in the 10th minute of stoppage time from Kate Del Fava. The assist came from Loera. When it was over, Scott sprinted to the field with a brief stop to talk her way past a security guard—“I was in normal clothes, I’m like ‘I’m with the team!’”—and gave a spirited talk to the team in the post-match huddle.

Scott returned to the field last weekend against OL Reign and helped the Current to a 2-0 win that landed them in Saturday’s NWSL Championship against the Thorns. The Current scored early in that match, and then held on for dear life over the next hour before doubling the lead against the run of play and winning safely from there.

“OL Reign is a tough competitor, but just happy to get the job done,” Scott said. “Knowing you’re one win away from a championship brings that added pressure, but I’m so proud of the team. I don’t think anyone thought we would get here, especially off last season.”

Scott said she felt like a part of the FC Kansas City trophy-winning sides in 2014 and 2015, but this time around she has a chance to actually put her hands on the hardware. Scott’s closest call on the domestic level came at Notts when they lost the 2015 FA Cup final to Chelsea. She has also appeared in most of the biggest matches the Canadian women’s national team has ever played, including the gold medal match at the Olympics last summer which they won on penalties over Sweden.

“I’ve been in some big games, but I’m not gonna lie – I’m pretty nervous,” Scott admitted. “It’s new territory for me. You start at the beginning of the season saying you want to get to a championship and now they’re here. Obviously against a quality side in Portland, but so are we. So, I’m definitely excited and getting hyped up as the days get shorter and shorter. I’m highly anticipating a quality match that is going to be a complete battle.”

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