Salina native Adrianna Franch competes in Tokyo for U.S. women’s soccer team

By: - July 21, 2021 1:46 pm
Adrianna Franch is introduced during the Olympics send off ceremony July 5, 2021, in East Hartford, Connecticut. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Adrianna Franch is introduced during the Olympics send off ceremony July 5, 2021, in East Hartford, Connecticut. (Elsa/Getty Images)

TOPEKA — Kansas’ first-ever women’s soccer Olympian is going for gold this summer in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Adrianna Franch, a Salina native, was named to the 18-player U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team roster last month for the pandemic-delayed Olympics. She will back up starting goalie Alyssa Naeher as Team USA seeks to reclaim the gold medal last won in 2012.

Franch was also a member of the 2019 World Cup champion U.S. team, although she did not play. She has made five previous international appearances for the United States.

“It’s been a long process to get to this point, longer than anyone thought it would be, but we collected a lot of information on the players over the past year and half in trainings, in their club matches and in international games, and we’re confident that we’ve selected the team with the best chance for success in Japan,” said USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski.

Franch burst on the soccer scene as a star goalkeeper at Salina South High School, where she also played basketball. She is a former Kansas Olympic Development Program player of the year.

A two-time All-American at Oklahoma State University, Franch was selected as the No.6 overall pick in the 2013 National Women’s Soccer League draft, making her the first goalkeeper drafted in league history. She was the NWSL goalkeeper of the year in 2017 and 2018, as well as CONCACAF goalkeeper of the year in 2017.

French is joined by Portland teammates Crystall Dunn, Becky Sauerbrunn and Lindsey Horan.

“We have a very experienced roster that has been through adversity at the highest levels, so it’s no surprise those players have distinguished themselves,” Andonovski said. “They’ve embraced the challenges and have shown tremendous flexibility and determination over the past 15 months to get us to where we are today.”

The U.S. women will compete in Group G, which includes Australia, New Zealand and Sweden. They lost their opener Wednesday 3-0 against Sweden.

Team USA has won the gold medal in four of six Olympic games and had competed in every Olympic final game until they were eliminated by Sweden at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

Desiree Scott, of Kansas City NWSL, also will compete in the games after being named to the Canadian Olympic team. It is Scott’s third consecutive Olympic appearance.

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Noah Taborda
Noah Taborda

Noah Taborda started his journalism career in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri, covering local government and producing an episode of the podcast Show Me The State while earning his bachelor’s degree in radio broadcasting at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Noah then made a short move to Kansas City, Missouri, to work at KCUR as an intern on the talk show Central Standard and then in the newsroom, reporting on daily news and feature stories.