Sporting Kansas City captain Matt Besler joined The Border Patrol on Sports Radio 810 WHB this morning to chat with hosts Nate Bukaty and Steven St. John from the U.S. Men's National Team training camp in Santiago, Chile. The Overland Park, Kansas native previewed tomorrow's friendly at Estadio El Teniente among other topics that included the inclusion of Olympic-age players in the annual January Camp, Sporting KC teammate Jon Kempin's first call-up to the senior team and how he came to know local 11-year-old Dominic Vargas during his fight with cancer.
On Jon Kempin's first U.S. MNT camp...
He's putting in the work. I'm telling you guys, he looks really good. It's a credit to him because he's come in and played with confidence. He acts like he has been a part of this team and that he belongs here. I've been really impressed with his ability to hang with us because when you look at him, he still is very young for a goalkeeper. I'm going to tell Peter the same thing when we get back to Kansas City. I think he's really developing here at camp and I think everyone can be really excited about his potential and his future here.
Listen to the 10-minute interview embedded below...
The United States - No. 27 in the latest FIFA rankings - will open their 2015 schedule against No. 14 ranked Chile on Wednesday at 5 p.m. CT on FOX Sports 1, UniMas and UDN. Both teams participated in the 2014 FIFA World Cup last summer and will also take part in the Copa America Centenario USA 2016. The U.S. is unbeaten in their last four games against Chile dating back to 1995 (3-4-2 all-time).
The offseason is officially over. Sporting KC players report to Kansas City today in time for entrance physicals at Swope Soccer Village on Saturday and a flight to Tucson, Arizona on Sunday for the first of two training camps (Jan. 25 - Feb. 10 and Feb. 15 - March 1) in The Old Pueblo.
And while we'll keep #SKCNation updated with all the latest preseason news and notes right here on SportingKC.com, social media is the must-follow source for banter and behind-the-scenes access as we count down the days until the team's season opener on March 8.
STAFF TWITTER ACCOUNTS
|Robb Heineman (CEO)||Follow @RobbHeinaman|
|Ashley Wallace (performance analyst)||Follow @AshWallace12|
|Mike Flaherty (equipment manager)||Follow @KitManSKC|
|Brian Ubert (massage therapist)||Follow @ubiewon|
|Jonathan Kaplan (communications/digital manager)||Follow @happykappy7|
|Kurt Austin (communications/digital manager)||Follow @kaustin01|
PLAYER TWITTER & INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS
|Saad Abdul-Salaam||Follow @Saad_Abdul||saad_abdul3|
|Jalil Anibaba||Follow @jalil_anibaba4||jalil_anibaba4|
|Bernardo Anor||Follow @BernardoAnor||bernardoanor|
|Matt Besler||Follow @MattBesler||mattbesler|
|Amadou Dia||Follow @Amadou_iT11||amadou_it11|
|Dom Dwyer||Follow @Ddwyer14||ddwyer14|
|Benny Feilhaber||Follow @b_feilhaber22|
|Connor Hallisey||Follow @c_hallisey||c_hallisey|
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|Graham Zusi||Follow @gzusi||gzusi|
In the summer of 2006, the United States Soccer Federation invited 120 players to Middlesex School -- 20 miles outside of Boston -- to join a seven-day identification camp for the U.S. Under-14 Boys' National Team. The camp was run by Technical Director Manny Schellscheidt, a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame who had coached the U.S. Men's National Team in 1975 and led the United States at the 1984 Olympics before beginning a 13-year tenure at the bottom rung of the U.S. youth national team ladder.
"I thought it was best to start with the little guys because it’s definitely important that we get the first step right," Schellscheidt told USSoccer.com. "I felt that if we can get a good introduction at the bottom with the most talented kids that we could find in the country that would be a good thing."
Among those in attendance nearly a decade ago? Sporting Kansas City homegrown goalkeeper Jon Kempin -- making the trip from his hometown in Leawood, Kansas -- and at least three other future members of the U.S. Men's National Team: Will Packwood, Wil Trapp and DeAndre Yedlin.
Kempin, now 21, and Trapp are each currently in Carson, California with the full U.S. Men's National Team for the first time in their professional careers after steadily progressing through the ranks. In fact, Kempin has now joined eight different levels of U.S. Soccer's national team program (U14, U15, U17, U18, U20, U21, U23, USMNT) and has been named to a U.S. Soccer roster during nine of the past 10 years.
10-YEAR RISE: U14 TO USMNT
2015: USMNT (Training Camp in California, January)
2014: U21 (Training Camp in California, April)
2013: U20 (Training Camp in Mexico, January)
2012: N/A (sidelined due to fractured ankle)
2011: U23 (Training Camp in Germany, November); U18 (Northern Ireland Milk Cup, July); U18 (Lisbon International Tournament in Portugal, May); U18 (Training Camp in Oregon, April)
2010: U18 (Traditional Winter Tournament in Israel, December); U20 (Torneo de las Americas in Georgia, November); U18 (Training Camp in California, April)
2009: U18 (Training Camp in California, December); U18 (Training Camp in California, October); U17 (Residency in Florida, Spring)
2008: U17 (Residency in Florida, Fall); U17 (Training Camp in Florida, August); U15 (Training Camp in Missouri, June); U15 (Training Camp in California, February)
2007: U15 (Development Academy Nike Friendlies in Florida, December)
2006: U14 (Identification Camp in Massachusetts, July)
Unlike Kempin's first weeklong experience in 2006, the U.S. Men's National Team January Camp is a 28-day gauntlet highlighted by a pair of international friendlies on the horizon: away to Chile on Jan. 28 and home versus Panama on Feb. 8. Kempin is one of four goalkeepers on head coach Jurgen Klinsmann's roster and one of 12 Olympic-age players included with an eye toward qualifying for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
"I think it's going very smooth because the older guys help them to feel comfortable, to feel at ease and to enjoy it," said Klinsmann. 'I think this is a big plus for this team and has always been a big plus for the American team that they make it easy for new players to come in and feel welcome and to feel part of the group right after a couple of days. I think that's what happens now with these younger players. They feel accepted, they feel respected and they spend a lot of time together. Therefore, I think it's a nice thing to do with this January camp to help this younger group to grow into the next level."
In the build up to MLS Cup on Sunday (2 p.m. CT on ESPN), end-of-the-year awards are being handed out by American soccer scribes and several of Sporting Kansas City's top performers earned high honors for their play in 2014.
Goal USA editor Thomas Floyd ranked the Top 10 players at all 11 positions from Major League Soccer's regular season for Backheel.com, with five Sporting Kansas City starters securing top-four recognition at their respective spots on the field:
- Seth Sinovic: No. 1 left back
- Benny Feilhaber: No. 1 attacking midfielder
- Matt Besler: No. 2 left centerback
- Graham Zusi: No. 3 right winger
- Dom Dwyer: No. 4 striker
Dwyer, who set a single-season team record and finished second on the MLS scoring chart with 22 goals, was also named Major League Soccer's Most Improved Player on SBIsoccer.com.
Dom Dwyer’s first full season as a starter for Sporting Kansas City saw him break out and become one of the league’s top goal scorers. The English forward bagged 22 goals and one assist, the second most in MLS, making him the runaway choice for SBI MLS Most Improved Player of the Year. Dwyer also finished the 2014 regular season with the fourth-most shots, third most shots on goal, and third most game winning goals. In addition, Dwyer’s 10 goals on the road was tied for the most in the league with Obafemi Martins, showing that Dwyer’s dogged and determined style was the same no matter which stadium he played in.
Illustration by Roxie Vizcarra (as seen in ESPN The Magazine)
Sporting Kansas City striker Dom Dwyer is featured in ESPN The Magazine's "Big Money" Issue, which hit newsstands on Friday, as one of six athletes whose spending habits were tracked and analyzed by senior writer Sam Alipour.
To find out how athletes really spend their money, we asked six -- from an NBA star who makes $12 million a year to a college swimmer using grant money -- to record several days’ worth of purchases...diaries from Andrew Bogut (NBA), Ryan Hunter-Reay (IndyCar), Justin Forsett (NFL), Dom Dwyer (MLS), Tyler Latorre (MiLB) and Kendyl Stewart (USC swimming).
Major League Soccer's second-highest scorer tallied 22 goals and took Sporting KC to the playoffs. Says the British bachelor, who makes $92,500 a year: "I'm a guy who focuses on the game and has fun after too." He has the club's co-MVP title -- and the bar tabs -- to prove it.
Dwyer's transactions were logged over the final five days of October, which included a World Series game in Kansas City and a playoff road trip to New Jersey. To see the full feature, the Dec. 8 issue of ESPN The Magazine is available for $5.99 at area retailers. Readers can also purchase access to a digital edition for $3.99 on Google Play or by using the ESPN The Magazine App for iPad and iPhone.
Sporting Kansas City Defender of the Year Seth Sinovic joined Kansas City Mayor Sly James at the annual Mayor's Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on Friday at Crown Center. Sinovic -- a Leawood, Kansas native -- was this year's featured celebrity and the event served to support the Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund (donate here), which helps as many as 7,000 local families each year.
Sinovic's speech: Watch Now
The tree is known as one of the nation's largest at 100 feet high and seven tons in weight. The decorations include more than 1,200 ornaments and 7,200 lights, while its wood is turned into commemorative ornaments following each holiday season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images
Top of the list. That's where Sporting Park lands in Stadium Journey magazine's evaluation of the best stadium experiences in Major League Soccer.
Released earlier today, the rankings are based on the following factors: food/beverage, atmosphere, location, fans, access and overall return on investment. Stadium Journey correspondent Cory Sims reviewed the state-of-the-art stadium earlier this year, writing that it is "one of the best venues to watch a sporting event of any kind."
Sporting Kansas City's home field earned the No. 1 spot over a trio of Cascadia challengers. Providence Park (Portland Timbers), CenturyLink Field (Seattle Sounders) and BC Place (Vancouver Whitecaps) rounded out the top four.
The road to College Cup officially kicks off later today as 32 of the 48 teams in the 2014 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship begin play. But the journey for seven Sporting Kansas City Academy alums has been years in the making since their days on the Swope Soccer Village fields.
Take, for example, University of Denver freshman forward Cole Stevenson. The Leawood, Kansas native and Rockhurst High School graduate has one goal and two assists in 18 appearances this season for the Pioneers, who won their second straight Summit League championship. Stevenson can be seen below as a member of the Kansas City Wizards Juniors during the 2009/10 season - the first in which the club's U16 and U18 squads competed in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
In fact, tomorrow will mark the five-year anniversary of the club's inaugural Development Academy matches. The U16's (1-0) and U18's (3-2) won both games of a doubleheader against Texas Rush at Bear Branch Soccer Complex in Woodlands, Texas.
Games to watch in the NCAA tournament (updated with scores):
- Saint Louis University (Raymond Lee) 2, University of Tulsa 0 | FINAL
- University of North Carolina (Zach Wright, Andy Lopez) 6, James Madison University 0 | FINAL
- Wake Forest University (Heath Honold) 0, University of Maryland, Baltimore County 0 (UMBC advances 3-2 on PK's) | FINAL
- University of Denver (Cole Stevenson) 0, Oregon State University 1 | FINAL
- Fordham University (Matt Lewis) 1, Dartmouth College 2 | FINAL
- Creighton University (Eric DeJulio) vs. Oregon State University | 12:30 p.m. CT on Sunday
On this day dedicated to those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, we celebrate the many military members and their families who have been honored at Sporting Park in 2014. These 18 individuals -- each with local ties and longstanding duty -- represent all branches and ranks as a small fraction of the millions of Americans who who have enlisted to protect their country.
Click on the photos below to read more about each honoree, recognized through Salute To Troops presented by Park University.
Thank you to all of those who truly #DefendTogether. A closing message from Sporting Kansas City homegrown defender Kevin Ellis, who hosted a barbecue and soccer clinic for military families earlier this year...
— Kevin Ellis (@Kev_Ellis4) November 11, 2014
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Martin Steuble started and played the full 90 minutes for the Philippines on Sunday in a 3-0 loss at Thailand. The international friendly was played in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand as both teams prepare for the 2014 Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup later this month. Thailand received goals from Mongkol Thosakrai (30'), Prakit Deeprom (54') and Kroekrit Thawikan (74').
Steuble also started in the Philippines last match -- a 3-0 win versus Nepal on Oct. 31 -- and now has 11 caps since making his international debut earlier this year. The Philippines are led by former U.S. Men's National Team defender Thomas Dooley and are No. 129 in the latest FIFA rankings.
The 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup begins Nov. 22 with Philippines in Group A, which also includes Vietnam, Indonesia and Laos. The eight-team tournament is co-hosted by Singapore and Vietnam.
Steuble, 26, is one of seven Sporting KC players to feature in international matches in 2014 along with Matt Besler (USA), Graham Zusi (USA), Lawrence Olum (Kenya), Jorge Claros (Honduras), Soony Saad (Lebanon) and Erik Palmer Brown (USA U-20).