Reggae Girl Van Zanten eyes strong comeback from season-ending injury

By Sports Desk April 23, 2024
VAN ZANTEN...I’ll come back better and stronger. VAN ZANTEN...I’ll come back better and stronger.

The thought of being sidelined for an entire season is almost too much for some players to bear, but Jamaica international Kalyssa ‘Kiki’ Van Zanten has embraced her darkest hour with confidence that she will emerge stronger than before.

Van Zanten, 22, who represents Houston Dash in the United States’ National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) was placed on the season-ending injury list, after she suffered damage to her left foot in the match against the Washington Spirit last Friday.

The American-born Reggae Girlz winger, made the revelation on social media, as she expressed her readiness to take on whatever obstacles came her way on what will be a challenging road back to enjoying her passion.

“Absolutely devastated that my rookie season has been put on hold. I’ll come back better and stronger,” Van Zanten captioned the post, which included an X-ray image of the injury.

Van Zanten was drafted with the number 21 overall pick in the 2024 NWSL Draft and signed with Houston Dash on March 15. She paraded her skills in four games this season and earned her first start on March 30, when the Dash earned three points on the road against Bay FC.

Prior to her professional move, Van Zanten strutted her stuff for University of Notre Dame in the NCAA Division 1 Women’s tournament, where she made 95 appearances and scored 27 goals.

On the international stage, the soft-spoken player, whose mother is Jamaican and father of a Dutch descent, made her Reggae Girlz debut during the Concacaf Women’s World Cup qualifiers in 2022. She scored her lone international goal against Costa Rica in Jamaica’s Concacaf Women’s Championships third-place finish in Mexico.

Van Zanten known for her speed and flair on the channels, was also a part of Jamaica’s history-making team that secured a famous Round of 16 finish at last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

While she grapples with the reality of her injury, Van Zanten finds solace in the support of her teammates, coaches, and fans. Their words of encouragement and unwavering belief in her ability to come back stronger provides the comfort and strength required to face the long road to recovery.

“Thank you to my team, family and friends for all the support,” she said.

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