Not throwing away her shot; Kansas City Current forward Kristen Hamilton matches all-time Challenge Cup goal record Kansas City Current

Not throwing away her shot; Kansas City Current forward Kristen Hamilton matches all-time Challenge Cup goal record

July 22 is a significant date for Kristen Hamilton.    

In 2021, it was the day she officially became a member of the Kansas City Current. This year on July 22, she celebrated two years on the Current with the first hat trick in club history.   


One of only seven players to score multiple hat tricks in all NWSL competitions, Hamilton is tied for second in the league with three. Now, she has the first hat trick in UKG Challenge Cup history and earned a standing ovation from the crowd.  

“To go out in front of the home fans, score a hat trick and get that kind of ovation too is really special,” Hamilton said, “and it's still something that hasn’t really hit me, and it feels a little surreal.” 

Saturday, Hamilton put on another show for fans at home, scoring a brace to match the league record of 12 Challenge Cup goals, set by her Kansas City teammate, forward Debinha.  

Hamilton has a lot to show for her stunning comeback from an early-season injury – Week Sixteen Player of the Week, and a spot on the NWSL’s July Best XI.  

The Current’s recent successes in the Challenge Cup have been backed by Hamilton’s five Challenge Cup goals in two consecutive home games. The momentum is flowing Hamilton’s way, and she said she is ready to ride the wave.  

With the Central Division on the line Saturday, Hamilton led a quick counterattack in the third minute. Her pass to forward Cece Kizer was delivered right back to her, giving Hamilton time to run onto it for a one-touch slider to the bottom right corner of the net.   

Again, in the 81st minute, Hamilton continued her celebration with a second goal and a cheerful salute to the fans cheering ahead of her. Building up the attack from the back, forward Hailie Mace skated the goal line to cross the ball to the box. In perfect position, Hamilton’s right foot connected to bypass the goalkeeper and send a wave through the back of the net.  

Hamilton said she feels like she is in great form, and the results are indisputable. Just two weeks before, Hamilton’s record-making hat trick against the Houston Dash put the Current up 3-1. However, a lot of the work happens behind the scenes.  

“It was really nice to just put some away,” Hamilton said. “I had almost the exact same run and finish in training, and I missed, so it’s been something I’ve been thinking about and haven’t let go and was able to execute when it mattered.”    

Hamilton has a history of stepping up when it matters. In the 2022 playoffs, her goal against OL Reign in the NWSL Semifinal helped secure the Current a spot in the NWSL Championship game. She also set a club record for most goals scored across all competitions, with five Challenge Cup Goals, seven regular season goals, and the playoff goal. 

With Saturday’s game, Hamilton has also matched the club record for Challenge Cup goals (5), which she set last season. 

“Being a part of records is always really cool,” Hamilton said. “It’s not something I go out actively looking to do and it’s awesome to do that stuff, but at the end of the day, it’s scoring to help our team win and just doing whatever I can on the field.” 

Throughout her two years on the Current, Hamilton has taken on a role beyond her skills on the pitch.    

As the wearer of the captain’s arm band, Hamilton said being a valued part of the Kansas City Current has instilled a lot of confidence in her, allowing her to be a leader within the group.  

“I’ve been on almost every level of the journey, which I think is what value I can bring as a leader,” Hamilton said. “I’m more of a pull you aside, ‘This was really great that you did,’ just kind of connecting with people on a one-on-one basis.” 

Hamilton said having younger players look at her as a leader and be comfortable talking to her has been eye-opening, even though she does not necessarily see herself as a vocal leader. 

For Interim Head Coach Caroline Sjöblom, it is no surprise that Hamilton has been a catalyst for the team’s success.  

Coming back from a tough loss in mid-June, Sjöblom said Hamilton was determined to get a deserved win against Orlando, who had been pushing for a comeback. Sjöblom said Hamilton motivated the group with their pregame speech, where she was able to show her knowledge of the game and change the mindset of the team.  

“It’s how she takes care of herself, her body, but also the expectations she sets on her teammates,” Sjöblom said, “The way she presses, the way she runs, she is always looking over her shoulder like ‘Hey, come with me, when I do the pressing,’ so to me, she is a true leader and a really, really easy player to work with as a coach.” 



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