Winebrenner falls into MASL history

by Nathan Dunn

Jenna Winebrenner is the newest addition to the Kansas City Comets coaching staff. It just happened that she was also the first female coach in MASL history.

Winebrenner will be a familiar name to Kansas City soccer fans as she recently finished her rookie season with NWSL’s Kansas City Current.

The Kansas City native was not initially aware that she was MASL’s first female coach.

“I honestly wasn’t aware of that,” Winebrenner said. “I didn’t really realize that was going to be part of my title. It’s exciting and it shows that the game is growing.”

Winebrenner hopes that she can help the Comets win and inspire future generations.

“It’s important for the little girls watching the Comets in the stands,” Winebrenner said. “They can boss boys around too and they can be part of the game if they want to be.”

After a standout career at Park Hill High School, winning Conference Defender of the Year in 2014 and 2015 and 2016 Player of the Year, Winebrenner played at the University of Notre Dame. Winebrenner helped the Fighting Irish to 22 shutouts in 55 games across four years.

Winebrenner played a fifth year at Texas Christian University in 2021, earning Big 12 Tournament Defensive Most Valuable Player and First Team All-Big 12. She was drafted in the fourth round of the 2022 NWSL draft by the Current.

“It’s really cool,” said Comets head coach Leo Gibson. “We didn’t originally realize that she was the first female coach, but we see somebody who has such tremendous potential and we felt like she will be very helpful.”

While new to the coaching staff, Winebrenner is not new to Gibson and the Comets.

Winebrenner has attended many Comets games over the years and was coached by Gibson and Comets assistant coach Stefan Stokic in technical training.

“I’ve known her since she was little,” Gibson shared. “She’s just an amazing individual, so it's nice to have her at this level and working with her in this capacity.”

Before turning pro, Winebrenner grew up playing indoor soccer at the Comets training facility, the KC Soccer Dome.

“I grew up playing at the Dome, so I love indoor. I haven’t played with the walls in a while, but it’s a fun game to play.”

The 23-year-old Current defender is staying sharp while also adapting to the professional indoor game by participating in parts of Comets training.

While her playing career with the Current will come first, Winebrenner will add a unique perspective to the Comets coaching staff.

“I bring a different set of eyes,” Winebrenner added. “I have different experiences than most of the guys and playing outdoor with the Current gives me a different lens than they have playing indoor.”