Player Profile - Brittany Ratcliffe
By Scott Popp
While many players were busy gearing up for preseason training for their respective clubs in late February, Brittany Ratcliffe was wondering if she’d even have a spot on a team.
After a successful rookie season with the Boston Breakers, Ratcliffe was waived just a little over a week before the start of another NWSL season.
“I got the phone call that I was waived,” Ratcliffe said. “It was like a week before preseason started and I get the call and I was just kind of like ‘what do I do now?’ I didn’t know how the whole thing worked.”
While it was a major setback at the time, it turned out to be just a short hurdle in the young forward’s soccer career.
Ratcliffe started out playing soccer as a child at the age of four. Like many young kids she played just about everything.
“It started as one of those things when I was a kid I played like every sport imaginable,” Ratcliffe said. “I played basketball, softball, karate, dance and even gymnastics.”
Ratcliffe slowly began dropping some of those sports as she got older and began focusing on soccer, basketball, and softball. When it was time to choose one and go to the next level, soccer was the obvious choice.
“Soccer was definitely my favorite,” Ratcliffe said.
After seeing the campus and meeting with the coaches and players, Virginia became the clear college choice for Ratcliffe. After four years with the Cavaliers it was time for the next step but it was not always clear what would come next.
“I actually didn’t think I would go pro just because I didn’t think anyone would want me on their team,” Ratcliffe said. “Everyone was like ‘are you going to enter the draft?’ and in the back of my head I was like ‘why would I get drafted? Nobody’s going to want me.’ I was just set on going to an open tryout or figuring it out when the time came.”
After some convincing from coaches, family, and friends Ratcliffe entered the 2016 NWSL draft. The move paid off when the Breakers made her the 17th overall pick.
“I was actually in class about to present for our final presentations and then I got the call that I was drafted,” Ratcliffe said. “I was so shocked it was an awesome experience I was like ‘okay, I guess I’m doing this.”
Ratcliffe found some success in her rookie campaign with the Breakers. She appeared in 15 of the team’s 20 games, starting five of them.
But after many new additions from the 2017 NWSL draft and an excessive number of players on the roster, the Breakers parted ways with Ratcliffe. Without a team just as the new season was getting underway, Ratcliffe was facing the first major challenge to her soccer career.
“Everything happens for a reason,” she said. “It was definitely hard but you learn a lot about yourself when something like that happens.”
Ratcliffe wound up getting invited to participate with Chicago in their preseason training but was not in their plans moving forward. That’s when she received a call from Kansas City.
“I was really excited because it didn’t work out in Chicago but then Kansas City called and I had heard good things about it,” Ratcliffe said. “I had some friends that played here and some friends in their preseason training that said it was awesome and I knew they had won two championships and had done well every year they’ve been in the league, so I was excited that a team like that called.”
Once she came and visited the Blues, Ratcliffe knew it would be a great fit.
“I got out here and met the coaches and the girls and I knew right away it was an awesome place to be,” Ratcliffe said. “Everyone was so nice and welcoming.”
Ratcliffe has made a considerable impact since joining the Blues’. After star forward Amy Rodriguez went down for the season in their first match, Ratcliffe was thrust into a starting role. She has appeared in six matches, starting in five of them and has contributed an assist.
Head coach Vlatko Andonovski said Ratcliffe has thrived because of her attitude and mentality.
“She’s done a tremendous job of getting into the mix and part of it is because of her mentality,” Andonovski said. “She’s willing to adapt, she’s willing to learn, she’s willing to do things for the team and it’s easy to accept a player like that, both on and off the field as well.”
The Blues’ offense has especially picked up recently as Ratcliffe and the rest of the Kansas City attack has slowly gained chemistry. Ratcliffe said the team’s attitude on the field had really helped her fit in nicely.
“They’re awesome to play with,” Ratcliffe said. “I know that’s such a cliché thing to say but having played six or seven games now you can tell that everyone on the field works for each other and is very supportive on the field. We’re really a team on the field and it shows.”
Watch Brittany and FC Kansas City play at Swope Soccer Village during the 2017 season. Single game tickets are available to purchase here.