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Academy

14 October 1:08 pm

Sporting Kansas City homegrown defender Erik Palmer-Brown is among the world's top 40 players at his age, acording to The Guardian's "Next Generation 2014" list released earlier today. The 17-year-old is the only American included in the compilation and one of two from CONCACAF along with Mexico's Erick Aguirre.

A Lee's Summit, Missouri native, Palmer-Brown appeared in six matches for Sporting Kansas City across all competition in 2014. He made his professional debut in May, becoming the youngest player in MLS history to start a regular season match as a defender and the youngest player to appear in a Major League Soccer match this season, for the first of three MLS games played. Palmer-Brown also started each of the team's two matches in the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and he most recently started in the team's 3-0 victory over Real Esteli FC in the 2014/15 CONCACAF Champions League.

Palmer-Brown is a member of the United States Under-20 Men's National Team, participating in an international training camp in Buenos Aires, Argentina last month. He attended the prestigious U.S. Soccer Residency Program in Bradenton, Florida in 2013 before being named one of five finalists for U.S. Soccer's Young Male Athlete of the Year.

Palmer-Brown is a product of the Sporting Kansas City Academy. He became the club's third homegrown player upon signing a professional contract in August 2013.

07 October 1:53 pm

This weekend of October 10-13, Sporting KC and Swope Soccer Village will host the U17, U14 & U12 Central Region MLS Generation adidas Cup featuring Six MLS Academy clubs, including Sporting KC, Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo.

U17 Division: All six MLS Academies will compete in the U17 division featuring two MLS GA cup games on Friday and Sunday with one Friendly on Monday. The schedule can be found online at www.mlssoccer.com/generationadidascup/2015.

U14 Division: Sporting KC, Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids & Columbus Crew will play in the U14 division. Games will be held on Friday, Saturday & Sunday. The schedule can be found online at www.sportingkc.com/academy/mlsgacup-u14-2014.

U12 Division: Sporting KC, Chicago Fire, & Houston Dynamo will play in the U12 division. Multiple games will be held on Saturday (7v7) & Sunday (11v11). The schedule can be found online at www.sportingkc.com/academy/mlsgacup-u12-2014.

For more information on Swope Soccer Village including a map of the fields, please visit www.sportingkc.com/swope-park-training-center.

You can also get updates by following @SKCAcademy on Twitter!

 

06 October 3:27 pm

Congratulations to Sporting St. Croix and El Padrino, who were named Sporting Club Network Academy Affiliate of the Year and Sporting Club Network Club of the year, respectively. Guests from both clubs will attend Sporting Kansas City’s annual team awards ceremony, Pitch Black, on Saturday at Sporting Park.

In their first year as an Academy Affiliate, Sporting St. Croix fully embraced the Academy Affiliate program and rebranding process. Despite being the furthest Academy Affiliate, located in the twin cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, St. Croix consistently had some of the best participation in Academy events. Whether it was sending players and teams to compete during Academy Affiliate Weekend and MLS/MRL league play, or welcoming new Academy Affiliate Technical Director Desmond Armstrong on a visit, St. Croix was always well represented. The club even helped Sporting Kansas City’s Academy teams open up their seasons by playing in their first friendlies.

Sporting Club Network Club of the Year, El Padrino, has enjoyed a tremendously successful year in a variety of ventures. In just their second year as a member, El Padrino secured an agreement with Kansas City Power and Light through the Sporting Club Network and has seen their relationship flourish. Always looking for new ways to grow the game and foster the development of youth players throughout the Kansas City area, El Padrino teamed up with Soccer Nation and unveiled a new, two-field indoor complex, while also helping to support the planned construction of new futsal courts throughout Wyandotte County.  El Padrino has hosted three different Sporting Club Network events this year, benefitting both their players and coaches, and has been instrumental in helping the Network and The Victory Project launch the community-focused Recycle Your Game program.

Sporting St. Croix and El Padrino will be formally recognized during Saturday’s Pitch Black awards ceremony in conjunction with Sporting Kansas City’s annual team awards. Fans are invited to vote for the various team awards online here through Thursday, October 9th. To stay up-to-date on the latest Sporting Club Network news, follow the Network on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

09 September 11:48 am


Photo via @ussoccer_ynt on Twitter

Sporting Kansas City defender Erik Palmer-Brown started for the United States Under-20 Men's National Team on Tuesday in a 1-1 draw against the Argentina Under-20 Men's National Team in Ezeiza, Argentina. The home side's lone goal came from 19-year-old River Plate forward Giovanni Simeone, the son of Atletico Madrid manager and three-time World Cup veteran Diego Simeone, in the 48th minute before Zach Pfeffer (Philadelphia Union) pulled the U.S. level with a game-tying goal in the 61st minute.

Palmer-Brown, the youngest player on the U.S. roster at age 17, started all three games for head coach Tab Ramos during the team's stay in Buenos Aires. Prior to today's friendly, the U-20's earned a 2-0 victory over Racing Club Reserves and a 3-2 win against Defensa y Justicia Reserves.

The international trip to South America was Palmer-Brown's second full training camp with the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team. In April, he appeared in four victories for the U-20's en route to reaching the Dallas Cup final.

 

07 September 1:38 pm

Erik Palmer-Brown started his second straight match for the United States Under-20 Men's National Team on Saturday, playing the full 70 minutes in a 3-2 win over Defensa y Justicia Reserves in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Sporting KC defender anchored a U.S. backline that allowed only two shots on goal, both of which resulted in goals for the home side in the opening 15 minutes.

The United States, led by head coach Tab Ramos, came from behind with a brace from Bradford Jamieson (LA Galaxy) and a goal from Paul Arriola (Tijuana). It marked the second straight victory for the youth national team during their international training camp after earning a 2-0 win over Racing Club Reserves last Thursday. Palmer-Brown started and played 62 minutes in that win.

The U.S. will next play the Argentina Under-20 Men's National Team on Tuesday, Sept. 9 before players return to their respective clubs on Wednesday, Sept. 10. Follow @ussoccer_ynt for updates.

05 September 10:57 am


Photo courtesy of @LAND3Studio on Twitter

League play begins tonight at Swope Soccer Village as area youth soccer players will step foot on the new fields for the first time since the start of a $15.5 million expansion at the state-of-the-art facility. Over 16,000 boys and girls of all ages will compete at Swope Soccer Village during the Fall 2014 season, representing more than 1,100 teams from nearly 200 clubs.

Mayor Sly James stopped by the nine-field complex (three natural grass, six synthetic turf) at 63rd and Lewis Rd in Kansas City, Missouri on Thursday, sending out a series of tweet with his first impressions.

An official dedication ceremony will be held next Friday, Sept. 12 at 4:30 p.m. CT on the south plaza at Swope Soccer Village. Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Circo, 5th District Councilman Michael Brooks, Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders, KC Parks Commissioners and Sporting KC representatives will all be in attendance for the festivities. 

In addition to league competition, Swope Soccer Village's fall schedule is highlighted by several upcoming marquee events:

  • Big 12 Soccer Championship: The postseason tournament returns to KC for a second straight year as the top eight women's soccer teams in the Big 12 conference play in a single-elimination tournament from Nov. 5-9 for an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
  • Youth Soccer Clinic: Hosted by the Kansas City Sports Commission and featuring NWSL champions FC Kansas City, the clinic is free for kids 6-12 and will be held from 8:30-10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8. Registration is required.
  • Presidents Cup & State Cup: The best under-15 thru under-18 girls soccer teams from Missouri and Kansas will play Nov. 8-9 in pursuit of berths to regional competition and with college coaches in attendance for recruiting opportunities.
  • NCAA Division III Soccer Championship: The men's and women's champions of NCAA Division III will be crowned on Dec. 5-6 in the first of four years of NCAA soccer championships coming to Swope Soccer Village.
04 September 8:24 pm

Sporting Kansas City homegrown defender Erik Palmer-Brown started and played 62 minutes for the United States Under-20 Men's National Team on Thursday in a 2-0 victory over Racing Club Reserves in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Palmer-Brown and the United States defense limited Racing to only one shot on goal in the shutout, while the U.S. received goals from Zach Pfeffer (Philadelphia Union) and Romain Gall (Columbus Crew).

At age 17, Palmer-Brown is the youngest of 19 players selected by head coach Tab Ramos for the international trip after an impressive showing with the U20's at the 2014 Dallas Cup in April.

“He’s really a U18 player but I talked with Peter Vermes a few months ago and he said Erik had been showing well," Ramos told American Soccer Now. "I decided it didn’t make sense to leave him at the 18's and he was ready to move up to this level. He’s up for the challenge.”

The United States Under-20's will next face the Defensa y Justicia Reserves on Saturday before the final friendly on Tuesday, Sept. 9 against the Argentina Under-20 Men's National Team.

21 August 6:42 pm

Four years ago this month, Jon Kempin became the club's first homegrown player and the youngest signing to that point when he turned pro at age 17.

"This is a great day for our organization," Peter Vermes said at the time. "We had the opportunity to identify a talented player in the area, bring him into the (Academy) program and develop him to the point where we could sign him to a professional contract. Jon has incredible talent and now he has the opportunity to continue his development at a professional level and not have the pressure to perform on the field right away.”

Pressure to perform, like being told at halftime to warmup for your MLS debut and then facing a penalty kick for your first shot on goal faced.

Or lining up across from the League's top paid player, U.S. Men's National Team star Michael Bradley, in your first career MLS start.

Or following that with a 2,000+ mile trek to Central America three days later for a Champions League encounter in Nicaragua.

Kempin aced all three tests since being summoned back from his loan to USL PRO affiliate OKC Energy FC in the aftermath of an injury to starting goalkeeper Eric Kronberg and then stepping into the spotlight when Andy Gruenebaum was sidelined with a strained shoulder. Now 21, Kempin is the youngest goalkeeper to start an MLS match in team history and the youngest at his position to appear in MLS this season.

To quote Kempin on his first day as a professional, "Now is when the fun starts."

06 August 11:46 am
July 19th marked the third annual Sporting Club Network Reception and Kevin Gray Awards Ceremony as the achievements of various players, coaches and those dedicated to the growth of the game were recognized. One hundred and twenty-three members were in attendance, representing 33 Sporting Club Network Academy Affiliates and Member Clubs from five different states -- a display of Sporting Club Network’s far-reaching effort to bring players, coaches and communities into the Sporting Club family.
 
Established in 2012, Sporting Club Network aims to create a more personal relationship between its members, their local communities, Sporting Kansas City and its parent company, Sporting Club. Athletes, coaches and families within the Sporting Club Network are provided with exclusive opportunities to interact with members of Sporting Kansas City’s senior team, receive coaching and education instruction from the senior team technical staff, and be recognized at Sporting Park for their efforts to expand the game in their locality.
 
The end of the year reception gives Sporting Club Network members the opportunity to meet fellow members, exchange ideas and reflect on the many on-and-off-the field accomplishments achieved throughout the year. In conjunction with the annual reception, Sporting Club Network hosts the Kevin Gray Awards.

The Kevin Gray awards, presented by Pepsi, were established in honor of the late Kansas City Sports Commission President. Kevin’s passion for the game and his desire to see it grow in the Kansas City area are exemplified in the winners of his namesake. The Kevin Gray Player of the Year Award recognizes youth, as well as adult, players for their outstanding performance on the field. The Kevin Gray Coach of the Year Award is given to a Kansas City coach who has led his or her team to remarkable success. The final award, Soccer Ambassador of the Year, is presented to an individual whose commitment to the game and tireless effort in support of its growth reflects the ideals that the Sports Commissioner Gray embodied.
 
The Kevin Gray Awards, co-sponsored by Sporting Kansas City and Global Sports International, bestowed the following awards, as decided by a panel of soccer leaders in Kansas City:
  • Male Youth Player of the Year – Jo Jo Piatczyc
  • Female Youth Player of the Year – Cristina DeZeeuw
  • Adult Player of the Year – Seth Sinovic
  • Coach of the Year – Peter Vermes
  • Soccer Ambassador of the Year – Robb Heineman
This year's awards ceremony, hosted at Sporting Park, preceded Sporting Kansas City's game against the LA Galaxy and was broadcast on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel the following evening. Former club captain Diego Gutierrez emceed the event and moved the crowed as he reflected on the growth of the game in Kansas City and the abundance of opportunity youth players now have, thanks in part to the work of Sporting Kansas City and the Sporting Club Network.
 
Gutierrez has a special connection to the club and the Kansas City area. He was a graduate of Blue Springs High School and was a two-time NSCAA All-American at Rockhurst University before joining the club in Major League Soccer’s inaugural season in 1996. He would go on to win the MLS Cup in 1998, four U.S. Open Cup championships and record 40 career playoff appearances (third most in MLS history).
 
At the conclusion of the reception, guests enjoyed the game and took in the electric atmosphere as they watched Sporting KC go on to beat the Galaxy by a 2-1 scoreline. The award winners, however, were given a truly unique experience as they were escorted onto the field and recognized for their achievements at halftime.
 
Thank you to all of our network members and guests for making this year's Sporting Club Network Reception and Kevin Gray Awards Ceremony such a memorable experience! To stay up-to-date on upcoming events and for all things Sporting Club Network, be sure to follow on Twitter and like the SCN on Facebook.
30 May 12:36 pm

Two years ago this month, two of the most successful clubs in Kansas City, Blue Valley Soccer Club and Kansas City Football Club, completed a major merger that saw both clubs’ membership come together to form Sporting Blue Valley. This was the first instance of an Academy Affiliate in the Sporting Club Network taking on the “Sporting” name and for some time it was considered one of the main local feeder clubs for the Sporting KC Academy teams. Times have changed since then with the Academy Affiliate program growing immensely, now including 11 different affiliates across the Midwest, spanning as far as Minneapolis, Minnesota to Nashville, Tennessee.
 
As Sporting KC Academy tryouts returned this May, the influence of these Academy Affiliates was certainly apparent with trialists coming from at least seven different cities and five different states. Among the represented affiliates were Omaha FC, Sporting Wichita Rojos, Sporting StL Rangers, Sporting Nashville Heroes, Sporting Kaw Valley, Sporting Iowa, Sporting Columbia SC, and Sporting Blue Valley, with a number of these players receiving roster or developmental player spots across the four Academy age groups for the 2014-15 season.
 
A major goal of the Sporting Club Network and its Academy Affiliate program is to better scout and develop the youth talent throughout this region in hopes of providing a clear path for these players to strive for a place on the Sporting KC senior team. Seeing growth like this is a testament to this program and hopefully a sign of the club getting closer to having its first Academy Affiliate player starting in a competitive match at Sporting Park.
 
To keep up with the Sporting Club Network and the Academy Affiliate program, be sure to follow on Twitter and like on Facebook.