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Senior midfielder Rylan Childers dribbles the ball against West Virginia in a 2-1 Kansas victory Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021. 

In the 2023 National Women’s Soccer League Draft, the Kansas City Current drafted women’s soccer super-senior midfielder Rylan Childers with the No. 42 pick on Jan. 12. She is the fifth Jayhawk in program history to be drafted. 

“It’s exciting,” said Childers. “It shows me I have a lot of work to do to earn my spot on the team. It is also exciting to be able to stay close to home. I’m excited to see the city from a new perspective and trying to represent them from the athletic side of things.” 

On draft night, the Grain Valley, Missouri, native and her family eagerly watched the draft in their living room. It was a night they will never forget, especially her mom. 

“Watching the draft as a family was super fun,” Kenda Childers said. “Seeing Rylan drafted was something I won’t forget. We had no idea what to expect, but we were super excited when her name was called. It took us a few seconds to realize it was Rylan since they called her Ryan.” 

Her dad, Brad Childers, was happy to see his daughter achieve her dream. 

“When Rylan was drafted, I was really happy for her and relieved because she was unsettled not knowing what her next step was,” said Childers. “She is very sweet yet an innately driven and disciplined person that does best when she can have her targets in sight and sink her teeth into something. Although her next task is tall, she knows what she is now pursuing, at least for the next several weeks at KC Current training camp.” 

Childers’ first two years were spent at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where she was the top goal scorer, Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year, All-WAC First Team, and was selected to the United Soccer Coaches All-Region Second Team. 

This year at Kansas, Childers led the team with six assists and tied for most points with 20. She was second on the team with seven goals and was elected captain by her teammates two years in a row. At the end of Childers’ Kansas career, she had started all 52 games, scored 14 goals and recorded 11 assists. 

Kansas soccer coach Mark Francis was excited for her and believes she has a bright future. 

“I’m really excited for Rylan for this opportunity in the next stage of her soccer career,” Francis said in a Kansas Athletics press release. “To be drafted is an honor, and especially to be drafted by the local team in the city where she grew up and played club soccer and her entire college career. I look forward to watching her grow into her professional career.”

Her dad was proud of her time as a Jayahwk and how she adjusted to the Big 12 Conference from being at UMKC.

“Kansas has been great for Rylan,” Brad Childers said. “What she experienced at Kansas undoubtedly was another profitable step in her growth as a person…the conference certainly was a good challenge for her to strive to earn her place [in] another level of play. Kansas' environment and level of play required her both to grow as a player, increase the speed of play, and prompted more growth as a leader. The program certainly helped her develop as a player and a person.”

On Jan. 31, preseason started for the Kansas City Current at their facility in Riverside, Missouri and Childers will try to earn a contract and a roster spot for this upcoming season.

“I think what’s been good for me is seeing what lies ahead, seeing the roster and seeing how the team is,” said Childers. “Knowing that I want to be able to make the roster and put myself in a position to learn and grow and do my best to be able to compete and play.”