How Brittany Mahomes brought goalscoring experience and an NFL platform to KC Current ownership
In the summer of 2020, Chris and Angie Long were determined to bring professional women’s soccer back to Kansas City. They had already met with the head of the city’s sports commission, Kathy Nelson, to discuss their aspirations when word began to spread throughout the city’s close-knit sports market. A few weeks later, after an unexpected phone call from the agent of a two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, the Longs had found a third investing partner to help turn their dreams into reality with the Kansas City Current.
Brittany Mahomes may seem like an unlikely candidate to run a professional women’s soccer team. The NFL world knows her as the wife of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes or maybe even as Taylor Swift’s new bestie. But others, especially those from her Texas hometown, know her as Brittany Matthews, a goalscoring machine who is using her platform to revolutionize the game she once played.
Brittany Mahomes is a familiar face on the Chiefs’ sideline, given even more attention this season with the added spotlight of a pop superstar alongside her. It’s well known that Brittany and Patrick were high school sweethearts, an origin story that was cemented in their public profile when their engagement went viral in 2020. What’s less known is that Patrick was once the familiar face on the sidelines rooting for Brittany, too.
Brittany Mahomes grew up playing sports in Tyler, Texas, in a sports-obsessed family.
In a 2020 interview, she described herself as “that kid that played every sport.” She dabbled in softball, basketball, track, and even competed in cheerleading. During her junior year in high school, she quit cheerleading and committed fully to soccer. As a striker, she went on to play collegiately at the University of Texas at Tyler.
“I literally just fell in love with soccer all over again. I was playing with my best friends. I was getting led by these amazing girls. It was just a huge family,” she said in the interview. “And then my senior year, I don’t know where it came from, but I just got this insane attitude, drive, where (I thought), ‘OK, I’m not losing. I’m not about to be on a team that loses.’”
In her senior year at UT Tyler, she became the first player in program history to score three hat tricks in a season or career, leading to increased media attention. She was able to navigate the added pressure with guidance from her then-boyfriend Patrick, who was already a top NFL prospect.
Mahomes netted 31 goals and 16 assists, helping the team reach a 56-13-5 record in her four years at UT Tyler. In 2017, she signed with UMF Afturelding Fram, a professional team in Iceland. While there, she joined her longtime teammate and best friend, Chestley Strother.
UT Tyler women’s soccer coach Stefani Webb, who is in her nineteenth season in charge, remembers first meeting Mahomes when she was 11 or 12 years old, playing on a field with Strother.
“I was at this little field and her and another little blond-haired girl that looked just like her … were out playing and they were tearing it up and smiling and enjoying life,” Webb said. “I didn’t obviously know then what they both would turn into.”
Webb described Mahomes as “the ultimate competitor” in college. She compared her work ethic to Patrick’s, saying “She was one of those people that was just driven to be someone that won games.”
“You look at exceptional athletes, and they love the pressure of that moment. They love the pressure of, ‘Can I do it or can I not?’ and she wanted that,” Webb said. “She always stood up to the test. I mean, she was an incredible goal scorer for us and leader on the field.”
Webb and Mahomes remain close, and Webb has paid attention to her former players’ successes off the pitch. Mahomes stepped away from playing professionally after one year in Iceland before finding other ways to be involved in the game. For the longtime coach, learning Mahomes would become part owner of an NWSL franchise was special.
Making history… again.
We’ve officially broke ground on the world’s first stadium purpose-built for a women’s professional team. pic.twitter.com/kFk08RCj6x
— KC Current (@thekccurrent) October 7, 2022
It was “probably my proudest moment,” Webb said.
“I often say to our coaches or players that you have a platform. No matter if it’s a little or a big one, it’s what you do with that platform that changes lives, and Brittany has been given a massive platform now,” Webb said. “For her to use that platform to change women’s sports in America is pretty impressive.
“I’ve been one of her biggest fans for using that platform not just for the good of Kansas City, but for women’s soccer across the world. You know, she’s setting a new standard, and I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
In three seasons with a Kansas City team back in the NWSL, the Current has become a beloved member of the local sports community. On the pitch, though, the club is still finding its footing. After a lackluster 2023 that saw the team finish second-to-last, the Current is entering 2024 with lots of change on the horizon. Former U.S. women’s national team coach Vlatko Andonovski will once again lead the team after previously coaching the former Kansas City franchise to two championships in 2014 and 2015. The current version of the team, under the ownership of the Longs and Mahomes, will also celebrate the opening of CPKC Stadium, one of the world’s first stadiums built exclusively for a women’s professional team.
This weekend, however, CPKC Stadium will be lit up in Chiefs Red – a nod to the NFL team’s place in Super Bowl LVIII against the San Francisco 49ers in Las Vegas on Sunday – another symbol of the Currents part in the Kansas City sporting ecosystem.
Mahomes stepped away from playing the game when she realized her passions were elsewhere.
“While I was in Iceland, I realized that you have to have a huge passion if you want to play soccer and that’s what you want your career to be,” Mahomes said in that 2020 interview. “I found that my passion was in fitness and helping others.’”
So she shifted her focus to fitness and health. Mahomes already had the resume for it, receiving a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology at UT Tyler and interning for Patrick’s longtime trainer, Bobby Stroupe. In 2019, she launched an online training program. During the 2020 offseason, Brittany, a certified personal trainer, even helped Patrick adjust his training during the pandemic.
Her ability to work with athletes and her experience as a former player are important factors that set Mahomes apart as a founding owner of the Current, Chris Long said.
“She grasps what the players are going through,” he said, “and that’s been very helpful from a managerial standpoint to get her feedback, as everything we do at the end of the day is a player-centric decision. So, it’s pretty important to have her input there.”
Mahomes also helped with branding and social merchandising, chairing the club’s brand advisory committee that helped choose the name and identity, Long said. Already having the exposure that comes with one Mahomes in their ownership group, Patrick officially joining Brittany as an owner last year was a bonus.
“It certainly gives the club a lot more credibility and to a wider audience, and, if you ask Patrick and Brittany, one of the reasons for their involvement, it’s always been that they want to amplify women’s sports,” Long said. “The fact that they chose to be associated with the Current speaks volumes to their commitment to advance the effort.
“It puts a lot of credibility in our court as to all the things that we’re doing to raise the bar globally.”
(Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images)