The U.S. Women's National Team -- ranked No. 1 in the world and in the midst of an 87-game home unbeaten streak -- arrived in Kansas City on Sunday, 10 days before the start of the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship at Sporting Park on Oct. 15. Head coach Jill Ellis named her 20-player roster earlier today for the World Cup qualifying tournament, featuring Lauren Holiday, Becky Sauerbrunn and Amy Rodriguez from reigning NWSL champions FC Kansas City.
Follow @ussoccer_wnt on Twitter for updates throughout their stay in Kansas City and secure your tickets online at Ticketmaster.com for the international doubleheaders on back-to-back nights at Sporting Park.
In the same way that Kansas City has embraced its soccer team, the soccer team has embraced the city...This is an organization that knows that being a champion isn’t just about what you do on the field. It’s also what you do off the field. I know that the entire city is very proud of you.
Those were the words of President Barack Obama as he welcomed Sporting Kansas City to the White House on Wednesday to formally congratulate the club on their 2013 MLS Cup championship and to recognize the team's commitment to the community. In that spirit, The Victory Project and DC Scores teamed up to host a youth soccer clinic on the South Lawn following the ceremony inside the East Room.
While at the nation's capital, Sporting Kansas City players also participated in the #EatSmart campaign geared towards expressing why its important to practice healthy habits. Head Fitness Coach Mateus Manoel has been with the team for five seasons, providing valuable guidance pertaining to health and fitness both on and off the field. When a collection of players were asked why they #EatSmart, here's what they had to say:
Sporting Kansas City concludes their trip to the nation’s capital tonight when they take on D.C. United at 7 p.m. CT at RFK Stadium. The match-up between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference will be nationally broadcast on NBCSN and the team will host watch parties at the Johnny’s Tavern locations in the KC Power & Light District and in Overland Park.
On Tuesday, Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer and pinch runner Jarrod Dyson were at the center of a thrilling 9-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics in the American League Wild Card Game at Kauffman Stadium. Hosmer reached base in five of his six at bats, driving in a run and and scoring twice himself -- including the game-tying run in the 12th inning. The game -- the first Royals playoff action since winning the World Series in 1985 -- would not have reached that point if not for Dyson's game-tying run in the 9th inning.
Exactly 100 days earlier, the Royals duo were joined by thousands of soccer supporters cheering on Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and the U.S. Men's National Team at the Kansas City Power & Light District during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. As it turned out, the 2-2 draw against Portugal on June 22 in the Brazilian Amazon featured no shortage of drama itself.
"It's fun because you get to be in the crowd with the same people that cheer you on," Hosmer said. "You feel the energy in the dugout and always looking out at the stands, but to actually be in the stands now and to get to feel the energy with the people out here has been a great experience."
Several Sporting Kansas City players returned the show of support on Tuesday as they were on hand to see the Royals advance to the best-of-five American League Division Series, which begins tonight in Anaheim (8:07 p.m. CT on TBS).
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 email@example.com.
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.