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Academy

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.
30 May 10:26 am
With upcoming plans to replace the pitch at Sporting Park during the World Cup break in MLS play, Sporting Kansas City offered up a unique opportunity to its partners: a chance to reserve 3-hour time slots to host events on the very field that the 2013 MLS Cup was won on. Academy Affiliate Sporting Kaw Valley took advantage of this occasion & will be hosting what they are calling “Party on the Pitch” on Saturday.
 
Attending SKV club members will get to come out to Sporting Park and participate in a variety of activities on the field, but the fun doesn’t end there with Sporting KC player appearances, autographs, music, giveaways and much more being included in the overall event. While on-field, participating youth players can compete in various skill-based games and will each be given a “passport” to travel through the different activities.
 
Upon completion of said activities, players will receive a stamp showing their accomplishment and completed passports will earn players the chance to win different SKC prizes including autographed merchandise. Following these on-field challenges from 3-6 p.m., members are welcome to stick around the stadium in the Boulevard Members Club for an additional player appearance during a Sporting KC watch party for the team's road match against D.C. United at 6 p.m.
 
For your chance to be a part of this exclusive event, register today at www.sportingkv.com/registration. And to stay up to date on all things Sporting Club Network, be sure to follow the program on Twitter and like it on Facebook.
28 April 12:53 pm

Sporting Kaw Valley has made an exciting addition to their coaching staff. Former Sporting KC midfielder and Grenada international Craig Rocastle is the newest member of Sporting Kaw Valley’s premier coaching staff and will fulfill a variety of roles within the club. Rocastle currently holds a National “C” Coaching License and will now serve as an Assistant Age Group Director in their Premier Division.
 
"Rocastle will bring with him a wealth of individual soccer related knowledge and experience," said Marcus Dudley, Sporting Kaw Valley’s Executive Director. "He truly understands what we're trying to build here at Sporting Kaw Valley.”

Sporting Kaw Valley partnered with Sporting Kansas City through the Sporting Club Network as an Academy Affiliate in 2013. Sporting Kaw Valley is dedicated to providing opportunities for fun and development in a family-friendly environment. Their goal is to enable youth players to enjoy the game of soccer, while realizing their full potential as a player. Today, they serve more than 2,200 players between the ages of 3-19, primarily in the Lawrence and Topeka areas.
 
To read more about this announcement, please click here. To stay informed on all things Sporting Club Network, follow the SCN on Twitter & like them on Facebook.

24 April 10:03 am

Homegrown goalkeeper Jon Kempin started for the United States Under-21 Men's National Team on Wednesday in a 2-1 victory against Club Tijuana (MEX) Under-20's at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. The 21-year-old Leawood, Kan. native kept a clean sheet for the opening 45 minutes before head coach Tab Ramos made mass changes at halftime and Kempin was replaced by Kendall McIntosh for the second half.

Wednesday's scrimmage was the highlight of the training camp, the first for the U.S. U21's with an eye toward qualifying for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Kempin now returns to OKC Energy FC ahead of their home opener against Orlando City SC on Saturday. Kempin has started three games during the team's inaugural USL PRO season with one shutout and 10 saves, and was named an honorable mention on the USL PRO Team of the Week yesterday.