GoalNation Interview With FC Kansas City’s Christina Gibbons
As the next college players take the field to begin their professional careers, all eyes will be on the NWSL as it enters its fifth season. GoalNation spoke with the top five draft picks of the 2017 NWSL College Draft to discuss their goals for the future and the source of their success thus far.
During her first season with the Blue Devils, Gibbons received All-ACC Freshman Team honors as part of a defensive unit that recorded seven shutouts on the season.
During her senior season she was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year and was selected to the All-ACC First Team and NSCAA First Team All-America. In 2015, Gibbons was named to NCAA College Cup All-Tournament Team.
At the international level, Gibbons was a member of the U.S. U20 Women’s National Team that advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2014 U20 World Cup in Canada. She was recently called to the first U.S. Women’s National Team training camp of 2017 in recent weeks.
GoalNation spoke with Gibbons following her selection as the No. 5 pick in the NWSL College Draft as she takes the next step to the professional level.
Chris Rael: What guidance have your club coaches given you leading up to the NWSL College Draft?
Christina Gibbons: As soon as the college season ends, there isn’t really much time to reflect.
My coaches, Robbie and Irwin, have been extremely helpful – especially Irwin who has experience with Sky Blue. He’s helped out coaching and has contacts – they’re a big help in keeping me informed. Whenever coaches call, I trust they are saying the right thing.
When you have plans to play afterwards — there are all these questions. For example, what are the NWSL teams looking for and what trades are happening? Then you start to get an idea what teams might be in need of — in regard to the position you play.
My coaches have done a really great job of helping me — not only speaking well of me but really figuring out what would be the best situation for me to walk into.
I think I ended up in a really good spot with Kansas City — and, a big part of this good fortune is thanks to my coaches.
Chris Rael: What is your biggest strength on the field?
Christina Gibbons: For me, I think it’s just been relentless dedication.
When I was coming up at CASL, it was not until my later years that I really started to get any notice.
I tended to be overlooked during my younger years, which can be extremely frustrating as a player.
I worked my way up and sort of began to be known, but that didn’t change my mentality of anything.
I was always determined to better myself or learn more about the game – or even when it comes to fitness — being the best I can be, that’s been huge for me.
Chris Rael: What has your experience been like working with your club coaches?
Christina Gibbons: I sat down with Damon Nahas last week even to talk about this upcoming week and the NWSL Draft – how everything will go and potentially how it could pan out. We discussed where my journey goes from here.
It’s good to talk to Damon because he isn’t just a coach for me. Our relationship extends far beyond the field and he’s been a great mentor for me. Damon is almost like a second father figure – someone I really lean on and someone I can go to if I have any problems or need advice. I am so appreciative of everything that he’s done for me from even the program before CASL — Damon was my coach for eight years there.
Even through college, he was there whenever I needed something, or he would call and congratulate me on any award — he’s always had my back.
Chris Rael: What is the biggest asset you bring to the team?
Christina Gibbons: I think that obviously I’m a versatile player and I think for me, it’s about consistency. I am just a solid player – someone who is going to work hard on both sides of the ball.
I never give up – I bring the hard working attitude and a strong work ethic to the team.
Chris Rael: How will you continue to progress your talents on the field?
Christina Gibbons: There is always room to grow — whether it’s focusing on certain aspects of my game or sitting down and watching film.
As much as I can educate myself on decisions I’m making – as well as to really start to learn and form relationships with my new teammates around me. I think there is so much room to grow.
Chris Rael: What are your goals for the upcoming season?
Christina Gibbons: My goal for the upcoming season is just to embrace every moment. Obviously, there are specific things I want to do and achieve, but I think going into a new environment and having a good attitude about it is important.
Really embracing everything that comes your way whether it is learning from the more experienced players or just having a new journey after college. I’m just excited to learn and embrace every part of it — and play great soccer.