Mandy Laddish joined Utah Royals FC from FC Kansas City ahead of the 2018 season, but didn’t see the field for the Royals until the home opener on April 20th, 2019. Laddish subbed in for the final 11 minutes of the game, and while that may seem like a short time on the field, it took several years to get there.
The 27 year old midfield underwent two hip surgeries, and missed two entire NWSL seasons. The injury and subsequent surgeries put a hold on the career of a promising young player. Laddish had won the U-20 World Cup with the US and showed great promise in her early years as a professional for FC Kansas City. Coming back as a professional is an incredible feat.
Her time on the field for Utah was mostly good. She played a total of 632 minutes for the team, and while there were moments when she made mistakes, overall she was a valuable part of the squad. Her ability to play in the center of the field, connect passes and provide a defensive edge was invaluable while Desiree Scott was at the World Cup.
Off the field, and injury aside, Laddish wrote one of the most moving posts from a professional athlete I have ever read. She talks about learning to accept herself for who she is, and it’s an important message for everyone. If you haven’t read it, it’s well worth the time.
Laddish’s future is uncertain. She suffered another hip injury and it’s unclear what the recovery will be like. She has proven she can fight through and recover, but this may be a chronic issue and prevents her from staying healthy longterm. Ultimately it will be up to her to decide what’s next.