On Tuesday, defender Matt Besler was named the best soccer player of all-time from the state of Kansas by TopDrawerSoccer.com and it's that type of national notoriety that earned the Sporting Kansas City captain a spot on the "20 in their twenties" list in this month's edition of Ingram's magazine. The business publication annually features the next generation of prominent personalities in the Kansas City area and selected Besler as one of two professional athletes for this year's recognition along with Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel.
"In some ways, 27-year-old Matt Besler is the personification of soccer's growth in Kansas City over the past decade. He graduated from Blue Valley West High School in 2005, where his senior season ended with a Class 5A state championship. That was a year before the current owners of Sporting Kansas City bought the pro soccer team from founder Lamar Hunt. Before those two dots could be connected, Besler went on to become an All-American defender at Notre Dame, as well as Academic All-American -- the first player in Notre Dame's history to earn both accolades. The hometown boy came full circle when Sporting, then known as the Wizards, drafted Besler with the eighth pick in 2008. Since then, he's become a household name in Kansas City soccer circles, winning the team's Defender of the Year honors three times and playing on the U.S. team in the FIFA World Cup earlier this year."
In 2012, Sporting Kansas City's Chief Revenue Officer Jake Reid was amongst those honored in the "20 in their twenties" series. Readers can recommend candidates for next year's class (those younger than 30 as of Sept. 1, 2015 are eligible) by submitting a nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The U.S. Women's National Team will bring an 87-game home unbeaten streak to Sporting Park on Oct. 15 in the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship. The No. 1 ranked U.S. WNT earned a 4-0 victory over Mexico on Thursday in the team's final tune-up match with goals from Amy Rodriguez, Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath and Alex Morgan, while goalkeeper Hope Solo recorded her 73rd career international shutout.
Series tickets to see all four games during the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship at Sporting Park -- played via doubleheaders on back-to-back nights -- are available through Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers in the Kansas City area. Please note: tickets will not be sold at the Sporting Park ticket office.
2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship matches at Sporting Park
Game 1: Guatemala vs. Haiti on Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. CT
Game 2: USA vs. Trinidad and Tobago on Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. CT
Game 3: Jamaica vs. Martinique on Oct. 16 at 5 p.m. CT
Game 4: Costa Rica vs. Mexico on Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. CT
The tournament’s top three teams will directly qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup from June 6-July 5 in Canada, while the fourth-place team enters a playoff with a team from South America for the final World Cup slot.
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.
— WalterGastonCoyette (@gatocoyette) September 9, 2014
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.
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.
— Mayor Sly James (@MayorSlyJames) September 4, 2014
— Mayor Sly James (@MayorSlyJames) September 4, 2014
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.
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.
Carlos Bocanegra (right) celebrates scoring at Sporting Park | Photo by Jamie Squire (Getty Images)
No defender in U.S. Men's National Team history scored as many goals as Carlos Bocanegra and he set the record with the final goal of his international career on Oct. 16, 2012 at Sporting Park in a 3-1 victory over Guatemala. The two-time FIFA World Cup veteran announced on Thursday that he will retire at the end of the 2014 MLS season, concluding a 15-year professional career in which he captained the United States in 64 of his 110 appearances.
Bocanegra -- who also captained the United States to a 1-0 win over Guadeloupe at Sporting Park during the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup -- spent six seasons in Major League Soccer, beginning his career in Chicago. He earned Rookie of the Year honors and helped the Fire reach the 2000 MLS Cup, where they fell 1-0 to Kansas City at RFK Stadium.
His MLS career saw him make only two appearances in Kansas City with cameos coming in 2002 and 2003 - both seasons in which he was named MLS Defender of the Year. He scored Chicago's lone goal in his KC debut on Aug. 31, 2002 in a 2-1 loss but returned the following year and led Chicago to a 3-2 victory at Arrowhead Stadium on April 26, 2003.
Now 35, Bocanegra captains Chivas USA but has been sidelined since July with concussion symptoms. Sporting KC will take on Chivas USA next Friday, Sept. 12 at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler and midfielder Graham Zusi are two of 20 Major League Soccer stars in the running for this year's FIFA 15 custom cover. Fans can choose the World Cup duo to be among the four players that will appear on the downloadable MLS cover and all who cast votes will be entered to win a VIP package for two to MLS Cup 2014.
VOTE NOW: Cast your ballot
Voting is unlimited and runs through Sept. 9. The league's official FIFA 15 custom cover, as well as a Sporting Kansas City custom cover, will be unveiled on the MLS Facebook page on Sept. 19. FIFA 15 hits stores on Sept. 23 in North America and is currently available to pre-order on EASports.com.
This week, The Pitch has revealed the finalists from their Best of Kansas City 2014 ballot and Sporting KC is nominated in multiple categories.
Best Place to Watch KC Pro Sports
Best Sporting KC Player
Best Local Hero
Lazlo, 96.5 the Buzz
Best Thing That's Changed in KC in the Past Year
Additionally, Buzz Beach Ball -- which returns to Sporting Park on Friday, Sept. 5 -- is up for "Best Concert" and "Best Music Festival" in this year's awards.
Voting is open until September 17 with the winners to be revealed in their annual Best of KC issue on October 9. Users must have a registered account to complete the survey and must answer at least 20 of the 279 questions.
Photo by USA Tooday Sports Images
Since returning from Nicaragua after Tuesday night's CONCACAF Champions League opener, Sporting Kansas City has turned the team's attention to a top of the table clash with D.C. United on Saturday at Sporting Park. Two points separate the last two U.S. Open Cup champions in the Eastern Conference standings with two months remaining in the regular season.
Ahead of the 2004 MLS Cup rematch, listen to this week's interviews as heard on local sports radio.
Sporting KC Show on 810 WHB feat. Dom Dwyer and Kerry Zavagnin (Aug. 20)
The Border Patrol on Sports Radio 810 WHB feat. Peter Vermes (Aug. 21)
Fescoe in the Morning on 610 Sports Radio feat. Jon Kempin (Aug. 22)