KC Current: Kristen Hamilton replaces star Lynn Williams

KC Current forward Kristen Hamilton, left, chases a ball against Chicago Red Stars midfielder Alyssa Mautz during an NWSL Challenge Cup match earlier this year on Sunday at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas .

KC Current forward Kristen Hamilton, left, chases a ball against Chicago Red Stars midfielder Alyssa Mautz during an NWSL Challenge Cup match earlier this year on Sunday at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas .

Special to the star

When veteran offseason acquisition Lynn Williams was ruled out for the National Women’s Soccer League season before playing just one game for Kansas City Current, a valid and pressing question ensued: who would fill their shoes as a goalscorer?

Midway through their 2022 NWSL campaign, the mainstream’s answer was Kristen Hamilton.

Already the current top scorer in the Current’s brief history (10 goals in all competitions), Hamilton was in particularly good form in June, scoring in three straight games. She now has nine goals in 2022: five in the Challenge Cup and four more in league competition.

“All my goals are (achievable) because I’m part of a team that likes to attack,” she told The Star. “We want to bring the game to our opponent. We created opportunities and honestly they just got me right now which is good.

Much of Hamilton’s success comes down to the game plans put in place by head coach Matt Potter. Hamilton said his approach of reinforcing desired behaviors with positive feedback boosted his confidence.

“It’s something very different for me,” Hamilton said. “I had to get used to it. I’m like, ‘Tell me what I did wrong!’ »

That’s not to say the player and coach don’t work to correct bad decisions on the pitch; they do. But they do so in an environment of mostly positive vibes.

“I think it gives everyone a bit of freedom,” Hamilton said. “And then knowing what the players around you are good at, you can leave them.”

Standing 5-foot-4, Hamilton is not a prototypical big-bodied target. But her speed and work ethic usually put her in the right place at the right time to do the right things. Some of the best scorers in the history of the sport share this trait: their timing is almost always perfect.

Hamilton said she pays particular attention to the opponent’s defenders – when they drop their line and when they choose to step it up. She aims to make them guess when to tag her and with whom.

“What I do is just try to float,” Hamilton said. “(I want to) cause chaos, the confusion of who’s supposed to be tagging me right now, and finding these pockets and these little holes and spaces in the box.”

This is perhaps most evident on set pieces. Lloyd Yaxley, the Current’s goalkeeping coach, is the mastermind behind the club’s set-piece success. Hamilton’s size doesn’t make her a target in the box, which sometimes means she goes unmarked. When opponents prepare to defend an initial cross into the box, she’s there for the tap-in or header past the keeper.

“It’s just about committing to areas and numbers in the box,” she said. “And when it comes to you, take your chance. I don’t think people would blame me for being a goalscorer from a set piece, but here we are.

We are indeed there, and Hamilton will be looking to add to his season total Friday night in Houston against the Dash.

Kansas City Star Related Stories

Comments are closed.