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This article was published 7/12/2020 (312 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Desiree Scott’s professional life has taken another turn.
The 33-year-old midfielder, a fixture on Canada’s national women’s soccer team for a decade, will be heading to Kansas City, Mo., early in 2021 after her professional team — the Utah Royals FC of the National Women’s Soccer League — was sold Monday.
The Royals are moving to K.C. despite attracting more than 10,000 fans per game in 2018 and 2019, the second-highest average in the league.
"That’s going to be tough to top for sure," said Scott of the fan support for the Salt Lake City-based club. "I actually started my professional career in Kansas City, so it’s kind of coming full circle. I’ll be planning to go to Kansas City, if all goes well, for the upcoming season."
Scott, who has been home in Winnipeg for the last few months, had pondered retirement following what would have been the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2020. With the Games being pushed back and a reboot for the franchise in Kansas City, she expects to be playing longer.
"Obviously with the Olympics (and) potential vaccines, I think a lot of things are back on the table in a positive way in terms of being involved in that and a professional season," said Scott, nicknamed "the Destroyer." "They are announcing their schedule very soon, so it looks like all systems are go for 2021... I obviously still love the game and want to be a part of it, with retirement still in the back of my mind, of course.
"But if those big, major events are happening, I want to be there."
Scott has been prepping for the upcoming season with a tailored workout program from her national team trainer. The national team, ranked No. 8 in the world, was supposed to convene for a training camp in October. When the pandemic crushed those plans, officials tentatively booked a training camp and slate of games for February in Europe.
"Where in Europe we have no idea and we don’t know who we’re playing and what it will look like," said Scott.
The pandemic layoff has been a mix of highs and lows.
"Yeah, it’s actually quite devastating," said Scott. "You know, there’s some days where you sit down and just have zero motivation and you’re wondering like, what’s next and there’s just big question marks.
"And then there’s other days where you know there’s a potential with it, so you wake up feeling refreshed with wanting to work out and touch the ball. So it’s really a love-hate thing with COVID."
The national team program will also have a new look. Incoming head coach Bev Priestman, hired to replace Kenneth Heiner-Moller in October, was former nats boss John Herdman’s assistant in 2015 and 2016.
Priestman, 34, also coached Canada’s under-17 and under-20 women’s teams before leaving in 2018 to guide the under-17 women’s national team in her native England. She also served as an assistant coach on England’s fourth-place finishers at the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
Scott said having a previous working relationship with Priestman is a real positive.
"It’s nice to have someone who knows me and understands me off field as well as on field," said Scott.
Scott was asked if she preferred having a woman at the helm.
"I’m in favour of a male or female coach," she said. "Now more than ever, the climate is changing to get more women in positions of higher power and you know they’re more than capable. I’ve had some fantastic female coaches as well as male. I think that Beth will do a fantastic job.
"I think she does things a little differently, she understand what it’s like to be a woman and still will bring that sort of passion and will be able to push us."
Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.