Former Jayhawk Notches First Professional Goal

May 19, 2011


Standing in the right place at the right time. That is how Estelle Johnson describes her first professional goal. The former Kansas soccer player, who is in her second season with the Philadelphia Independence of the Women’s Professional Soccer League, scored the tying goal in Philadelphia’s 2-1 win versus the Atlanta Beat on Sunday night.

Trailing 1-0 after the first 45 minutes, Independence head coach Paul Riley inserted Johnson into the lineup for the start of the second half, needing to rely on her talents in the back field. The Independence was playing a man short because one of Johnson’s teammates received a red card 13 minutes into the game and was forced to sit out.

During the 50th minute of the second stanza, the Independence earned a free kick just three yards out from the top of the penalty area. Although she was playing defense, Johnson decided to move up the field for the kick knowing the team was already down a goal and a player and desperately needed to get on the scoreboard.

“I asked the other backs if I should even go up (the field) because I knew Lianne (Sanderson) was going to shoot it,” Johnson said of the play. “My center back said, ‘If you’re going to go up you better get back here to defend in time.'”

After reassuring her fellow defenders, Johnson awaited the kick at the top of the box. When Sanderson took the kick, a direct shot at the goal that made it through the defense, the Beat’s goalkeeper misplayed the ball and it rolled away out of reach.

“I decided I was just going to go and follow the shot up and it just happened to come right to me,” said Johnson, who was there to get a foot on the loose ball as she buried it in the lower left corner of the net for her first career WPS goal while tying the game, 1-1.

The Independence went on to score another goal in the 73rd minute to defeat Atlanta for its second-straight win as they moved into third in the WPS standings. The Independence is currently 2-1-1 overall on the season and is back in action to take on the Western NY Flash on May 29.

To see a video of Johnson’s goal, click here and fast forward to the 2:25 mark. For more information about the Independence and WPS, visit