🎙 The Jayhawker Podcast | Katie McClure

Episode 25: Katie McClure | July 2, 2020

Katie McClure was born to score goals. Her knack for finding the back of the net was on display plenty during a record-setting Kansas career and now has earned her a chance to chase her professional dreams as well.

On the heels of an All-American tenure at Kansas, McClure was drafted by the Washington Spirit of the National Women’s Soccer League this January. As the NWSL season opens this week and McClure’s pro career begins, The Jayhawker podcast takes you inside this Jayhawk’s rise to prominence on the pitch.

A Wichita native, McClure has always craved competition—it’s how she grew up as the daughter of a former pro baseball player with three older siblings. McClure says her father’s influence and brothers’ competitiveness is what propelled her early on to pursue a future in sports.

“I think he had a lot of dreams and aspirations for me and my siblings, so just him starting it off was a crucial part for us,” McClure said of her father, Dave, a former member of the Detroit Tigers organization. “I remember as a kid going out in the backyard playing sports – I wasn’t inside playing with dolls or barbies – I was always out with my brothers competing. Just being outside and enjoying sports with them is when I got into sports the most.”

That passion put McClure on a path to high school stardom at Maize High School where she would set a new school record for career goals scored (110). Mark Francis and the Jayhawks took notice and offered McClure a scholarship when she was still just a sophomore. With that offer in hand McClure would go on to become a two-time 1st Team all-state selection and a Co-Offensive Player of the year from the Kansas State High School Activities Association.

McClure’s stellar high school career positioned her well to make in immediate impact at Kansas. She would start 16 of KU’s 21 matches her first season and notched 3 game-winning goals – something that would eventually become her calling card at Kansas. Along the way to a school-record 18 game-winning goals in her career, McClure would earn the nickname, “McClutch.”

“All forwards want to score and I think it comes down to when it is needed the most,” described McClure. “So, I think when I developed that name was in all the times when it was needed – either we needed a late goal to tie it up or we were in overtime and needed to win. It was not only about being able to score but doing it when we needed it the most.”

McClure’s late-game heroics helped her become an all-conference selection twice at Kansas and ultimately, a 3rd-team All-American as a senior. More important than any of those individuals accolades though, was the chance to help deliver the Jayhawks’ first ever Big 12 Tournament title and a run to the Sweet 16 last fall.

“It was an incredible moment,” McClure said of winning the Big 12 tourney in Kansas City. “We knew that this was the first time Kansas would have won the Big 12 tournament and to have that in the back of our minds the whole game was what we were striving for and why we wanted to win. We wanted to show people that we are here, this is the team that we are and we deserve to win the Big 12.”

Learn more about McClure’s legacy at Kansas and what it was like to hear her name called in the 2020 NWSL draft in this week’s edition of The Jayhawker.