FC Kansas City landed (pending league approval) one of the top free agent midfielders this week in Jen Buczkowski.
The three-time NSCAA All-American from Notre Dame was a sixth-round pick in the 2009 WPS College Draft by Sky Blue FC. After playing her rookie season with Sky Blue FC, Buczkowski was picked up by the Philadelphia Independence in the WPS Expansion Draft and ended up playing two seasons with them before the league folded. Buczkowski then headed home and joined the Chicago Red Stars in the WPSL Elite last year.
It’s now 2013 and Buczkowski can’t wait for the NWSL season to start and neither can we. So lets get to know FC Kansas City’s newest midfielder, Jen Buczkowski.
Congratulations on your recent signing with FC Kansas City and welcome to the NWSL! What drew you to FC Kansas City and how do you see the team shaping up this season?
Thank you! I am definitely excited to a part of women’s professional soccer again and have high expectations for FC Kansas City. I think a lot of people might have misjudged FC KC because it’s Kansas City and the Midwest and maybe not as known as some of the other big name cities like Boston, Portland or Western New York. I think the organization has done a great job researching players and they seem to have a definite “style” of play they are looking to achieve. I think overall it is shaping up to be a great group.
What can FC Kansas City fans expect when you step on the field this season?
First, I heard FC KC fans are going to be some of the best in the league so a small shout out to that! I think fans can expect some exciting soccer this year in Kansas City. I expect FC KC to be the hardest working team in the league and to play an attractive style of soccer that is technical, yet fast paced.
You are known as an “Ironwoman” on the field having played 38 of 41 games in the WPS and set a record at Notre Dame for career games played with 103. Can you give us a little taste of what a day of training is like for you?
I’ve been quite fortunate to not have any serious injuries throughout my career hence the “Ironwoman” title. Obviously a bit of that is luck but I do try to stay on top of my training so that my body is fit and healthy. Right now we are about a little over a month away from preseason so a typical day of training for me starts with an afternoon session with a group of guys. I am currently in Chicago and fortunate enough to have a great training environment. Bret Hall (who was with the Olympic Team in 2008) runs a program called Bridges to the Pros Academy which is for guys looking to continue to play whether that is overseas or in the MLS. Recently there have been a ton of MLS guys preparing for their preseason as well as the usual core group. It’s an intense, high-paced two hours. After being on the field I usually try to get in a treadmill workout twice a week and then the other three days try to get in some lifting. Its been a long offseason of training alone so the new NWSL can’t come soon enough.
What does a league like the NWSL do for women’s soccer in the United States and globally?
Having a women’s pro league like the NWSL can only do great things for women’s soccer both in the US and globally. I think the past two years with the women’s World Cup and Olympics has grown the support so much and has brought so much attention to the women’s game. Having a consistent league for young girls to watch will benefit the development of the game.
Social media has allowed fans and players a new way of interacting with each others (i.e we contacted you via Twitter to setup this interview) What role do you see social media playing in the NWSL?
I think social media will be a great aspect for both fans and players in the NWSL. There is something special as a player when you can connect with your fans and I think the same is true for a fan and their role model. I remember playing at Notre Dame and there was a boy, Tommy, who would come out to all of our home games. He was only about six or seven, but he absolutely loved the women’s soccer team. I think Twitter and social media will allow fans and players to interact and create relationships that will only help to grow the sport and get more fans for the women’s game.
If a fan wanted to get your autograph after one of your matches, what is the best approach they could take?
It’s always great to have fans lined up along the fence of your home field after a game. I usually try to stay out as long as possible and give as many autographs as possible. I think fans that get creative and make signs or shirts always get attention of the players so that is one approach that could help.
If you could play a pick-up soccer match anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
My daily soccer training right now is pretty similar to a game of pick-up. So many guys come out from so many different playing backgrounds. It’s pretty cool to play against Brian McBride and guys from the La Galaxy or Chicago Fire.
… and finally … if you could have one superpower what would it be and why?
If I could have one superpower it would be the ability to fly. Imagine no traffic jams, being able to travel anywhere on a whim and see the world from a bird’s eye view.
I want to thank Jen Buczkowski for taking the time for this interview and I look forward to seeing you play in the NWSL this season. You can follow Buczkowski personally on Twitter (@JenBuczkowski) and make sure to follow her team, FC Kansas City (@FCKansasCity), as well.