Soccer is becoming an increasingly hot topic here in Kansas City and I admit that I’ve been doing a rather poor job of staying on top of the stories of late. I’m a big fan of RSS feeds to quickly gather content I want to read, and as I come across stuff that I want to pass along or perhaps write an in depth column about, I slap a star on it in Google Reader. Unfortunately I never seem to have enough time to even get to a fraction of them and right now my queue is half full of soccer topics.
That’s a great thing for our area and community as Kansas City continues to develop into one of the nation’s premier soccer hotbeds. It’s not so great for yours truly from a writing standpoint since I want to thoroughly cover everything I possibly can. Speaking of which, if anyone out there want to write about Sporting KC, FC Kansas City, the Missouri Comets or all three on this site, by all means fill out an online application. I certainly could use the help on the soccer side of the local sports equation.
Now to catch up on the soccer topics I’ve neglected of late …
Sporting Kansas City:
- On January 6th, three members of Sporting KC were named to the US Men’s National Team. Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and newcomer Benny Feilhaber were picked by US coach Jurgen Klinsmann to participate in this month’s training camp from January 7th-27th.
- On the heels of that USMNT news, SKC keeper Jon Kempin was named to the US Under-20 Men’s National Team on January 11th.
- A week ago, the team’s 2013 schedule was revealed and 13 of their 34 games in the regular season will be aired on national television. Two of those games, May 12th at Houston and July 7th at Chicago, will be on ESPN. Unfortunately both of those are road games which means the ESPN audience will miss out on witnessing the world-class grandeur that is Sporting Park. The other 21 games on their schedule will be on television locally which means if you can’t make it out to the games, you will be able to watch them all.
- Already basking in the glow of schedule, the bigger news dropped on the 10th when Kansas City was awarded the 2013 MLS All-Star Game. The game will take place on July 31st and will give our city another chance to show off to the rest of the county and plenty of others around the world (people in an estimated 100 countries will tune in). Based on how we handled the MLB All-Star Game this past summer, I have absolutely no doubt we will knock it out of the park. Who the MLS All-Stars will play in the game is still up in the air, but frankly I’m so excited about the news I don’t really care who their opponent is. The cherry on the top of this All-Star sundae? SKC’s own Peter Vermes will be coaching the team.
- During the press conference related to the All-Star announcement, MLS Commissioner Don Garber stated the following, “US Soccer looks to this building as one of the great locations and great markets for US national team games, both on the men’s side and the women’s side. I think you’ll see more of those games in the years to come.” Statements like that only serve to feed our collective soccer fever.
- The last bit of news has happened in the last two days as Sporting Kansas City has terminated their naming rights deal with Livestrong. It’s devolved into a classic he said, she said scenario, but logically it seems reasonable to believe this decision was primarily a result of the team and not the Livestrong Foundation. Sporting’s ownership has already shown themselves to be top notch group and Robb Heineman was out front with a statement yesterday. For those of us in KC it’s now just Sporting Park and for me that is just fine.
- The team is already moving forward with other charitable partnerships including one with Make-a-Wish Missouri.
- Don’t forget, tomorrow is MLS draft day!
FC Kansas City:
- Of course Sporting won’t be the only professional team taking the pitch this spring and summer. Our new women’s team, FC Kansas City will surely capture our hearts as well. The team’s initial logo was incredibly underwhelming but leadership clearly listened to the feedback and unveiled a beautiful and fresh logo to take its place.
- In addition to the logo, last week some players were finally assigned to the roster by way of the NWSL allocation process. Midfielder Lauren Cheney, defender Becky Sauerbrunn and goalie Nicole Barnhart were allocated from the US women’s national team. The Canadian national team is sending Lauren Sesselmann and Desiree Scott to KC while Marilyn Diaz and Renae Cuellar were added from the Mexican national team. For even more on the players heading to KC, check out this article from the team’s official website.
- Today we learned that FC Kansas City will be picking 3rd in Friday’s 2013 NWSL College Draft. The draft will take place in Indianapolis, just like the MLS SuperDraft. The first pick should become official shortly after the 8 am CT start and each of the eight team’s will make a selection in each of the four rounds.