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We’re living in Lo’eau LaBonta’s world

Nobody in the world of sports is having more fun.

By André Carlisle (@838_Carlisle)

We’re living in Lo’eau LaBonta’s world

The Kansas City Current are on an 11-game unbeaten run which dates back to May 30. They currently sit 4th on the table despite their two star signings, Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams, not having seen a minute of regular season play. Many players have stepped up to give Kansas City a strong identity on the pitch, and Lo’eau LaBonta is the heart and soul of their attack.

LaBonta’s game is infused with optimism, creativity and a dash of mischief. Her constant movement makes her difficult to defend, and she knows how to utilize her acceleration and stature to put defenders in awkward positions. According to FBref, LaBonta has drawn the third most fouls in the league so far. Apart from dribbling skill and an immediate understanding of how to put a defender in a bad position, defenders are further incentivized to stop her because of what she can do if given time.

The Current’s top playmaker is currently tied with five players for the league lead in assists (4), and has five goals (four penalties) so far. Her counting stats already match that of last year’s MVP Jess Fishlock. Like Fishlock, LaBonta’s making a strong case for MVP outside of pure goals and assists by displaying a rare ability to influence games from anywhere on the pitch.

LaBonta is one of the most optimistic players in soccer, in any league. Any time she gets access to the ball she’s looking to create. Whether a line breaking pass, driving dribbles through midfield (according to Fotmob LaBonta has an absurd 73.9% dribble success percentage), drawing a foul or spotting the pass before the pass, LaBonta is everywhere.

She combines dynamism, technical ability, vision and creativity with an uncompromising demand to have a good time. Mic’ing up Labonta is one of the simplest decisions a content producer can make. But it’s not just pregame or in training, LaBonta uses that inherent joy to see opportunities on the pitch as well. Her perfectly executed long ball assist to CeCe Kizer is evidence that LaBonta doesn’t have to be anywhere near the attacking third to hurt a defense.

Then, of course, after the ball is in the net, LaBonta can truly take center stage. She recently broke the internet with an incredibly well-executed goal celebration in which she faked a hamstring pull, complete with a face full of agony, only to immediately stop for a mini-twerk.

Postgame, LaBonta explained the celebration. “Female soccer players tend to just all go to each other and Kumbaya and we love that,” she said. “But I think we really want to start making it a little more fun and having individual celebrations. So that was sent to me on Twitter and I said ‘bet’.”

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