A Kansas City guide to watching the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup
While no KC Current players are on the U.S. women's national team, there are a few Kansas City connections, including USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski, who calls Kansas City home. Two Current players will play for their home countries.
The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off early Thursday morning in New Zealand and Australia.
This year, the spotlight will be on U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Vlatko Andonovski — who has lived in Kansas City since playing professional indoor soccer in Kansas City the early 2000s — and whether or not he can make history leading the U.S. to an unprecedented third straight championship.
“Our goal is to win the World Cup. There’s no question about it,” he said during the USWNT Media Day news conference late last month in Carson, California. “I don’t think that anyone on our team thinks anything different.”
Jill Ellis was the U.S. women’s coach for the World Cup championships in 2015 and ‘19.
The USA’s first test within its group will be against Vietnam, on Friday at 8 p.m. Central Time (Saturday afternoon in New Zealand with the time difference). It will be televised on the FOX Network and in Spanish on Telemundo, Universo and Peacock.
For an outdoor atmosphere, the match will be seen at the KC Live! venue in the heart of the Kansas City Power and Light District.
Gael's Public House on Troost Avenue, which regularly offers KC Current watch parties, is another place to catch the USA-Vietnam match (as well as Saturday's KC Current-Houston Dash game).
The USA’s second match against The Netherlands will also be seen at KC Live! on July 26 at 8 p.m. It's also scheduled to be seen on FOX and the same networks in Spanish.
The Netherlands was the 2019 runner-up when the U.S. won its second championship that year on its way to back-to-back World Cup championships.
Admission to both events at KC Live! is free, but a ticket is required for entry. The venue will open 90 minutes before kickoff. FOX is expected to have a camera there for live shots of fans as part of its World Cup television coverage.
Portugal, making its debut in the expanded 32-team field, is the third U.S. opponent in the four-team group. After the group stage matches are completed, half the field will advance to the knockout stage — when a loss means elimination from the tournament.
Do you know of a business hosting a World Cup watch party around Kansas City? Let us know!
What to watch for in the 2023 Women's World Cup
Though the Kansas City Current, in their third season as a local entry in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), has had multiple call-ups to the U.S. national team for international competition leading up to this year’s World Cup, no Current player made the final U.S. World Cup roster.
Current goalkeeper AD Franch played on the U.S. World Cup championship team in 2019. But Andonovski instead awarded another NWSL veteran, Angela Kingsbury (formerly Bledsoe), her first appearance on the U.S. World Cup roster.
Kingsbury, 32, last year became just the fifth player in U.S. national team history to make her debut at the age of 30 or older.
“I don’t know that it came down to me or AD (Franch) per se, but I knew they were looking at five or six goalkeepers across the leagues,” said Kingsbury. “There have been a lot of good performers and the U.S. historically has some really strong goalkeepers.”
Two Current players to keep an eye on, although not for the U.S. team, are Debinha — who will play for Brazil — and Stine Ballisager Pedersen — who has yet to play for the Current but will be part of the Denmark national team. The Current announced her signing July 3, and expect to have her in Kansas City when the World Cup tournament concludes.
Debinha will play in her second World Cup. Prior to leaving for the Brazilian national team, Debinha was named one of the NWSL’s Best XI for the month of June. She scored four goals in the month and departed from the Current as their leading scorer.
When Current interim coach Carolina Sjöblom, a former national team coach in Sweden, was asked this week who she’s rooting for in the Women’s World Cup, she diplomatically responded, “I would say Debinha right now.”
Brazil’s opening match will be against Panama and televised on FS1, Telemundo and Peacock in Spanish on Monday, July 24 at 6 a.m.
France and Jamaica are the other two teams in Brazil’s group. Denmark opens against the People Republic of China Saturday at 7 a.m. and will be shown on FOX, Peacock and Universo.
Groundwork for World Cup 2026
As Kansas City organizers work to prepare for the 2026 Men’s World Cup as one of the host cities, the Women’s World Cup serves as the last chance to observe how the event is conducted between multiple host cities in New Zealand and Australia.
In 2026, the U.S., Mexico and Canada will jointly host the tournament.
Though Kansas City will have no official delegation traveling to New Zealand and Australia, KC2026 executive director Katherine Holland said she’ll still be keeping close tabs from afar.
“I know some people that are traveling over there to experience it and would love to know their experience with in-bound travel, how they navigate when they are in both of those countries viewing matches,” said Holland. “Just so we can have as much knowledge as possible as we’re building out our plan to support that.”
Holland was part of a Kansas City delegation that traveled to the Men’s World Cup last fall in Doha.
Though the trip was productive from the logistical standpoint, Holland and the others in the group didn’t have the satisfaction of watching a U.S. team go as far as the No. 1 ranked women’s team are expected to go this year.