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08 September 1:15 pm
It is the dream of many children to grow up and be a professional athlete. Some get the chance to live out their dream but many don't. The Special Olympics organization gives athletes facing intellectual disabilities the same opportunities in sports their peers have. One way in which the organization does this is through Unified Sports.
 
Special Olympics Unified Sports® is a program that brings together athletes with intellectual disabilities and their peers without intellectual disabilities (called partners) on the same team for training and competition. Age and ability matching of athletes and partners is defined on a sport-by-sport basis.
 
This past weekend Special Olympics Kansas sent a Unified Team comprised of athletes from five local high schools to NYC to take part in an Exchange Game with Special Olympics New Jersey.  Exchange Games are a new initiative from MLS WORKS, the league’s Community Relations arm, and has many MLS teams participating around the league.  Each game features Unified Teams from the local Special Olympics chapters and takes place immediately following the professional game on the field.
 
The Kansas athletes arrived a day before their big game and MLS WORKS and Sporting KC staff had a couple surprises in store.  For many of the athletes it was their first trip to NYC so after checking into the team hotel, the group made their way to Yankee Stadium to watch the Kansas City Royals take on the New York Yankees. Throughout the game, the Royals Network graciously featured live shots of the group which aired back in Kansas City. On Saturday morning, the group visited several iconic New York sights including Times Square, the New York City Public Library and the Empire State Building.
 
 
When game time arrived on Saturday the athletes entered Red Bull Arena and were announced during pregame to the crowd which included over 200 Sporting KC traveling fans. The team watched the first half of play before heading to their locker room which had been pre-set with full team kits in a manner that reflects what their professional counterparts would experience. After exchanging gifts and good luck cards, which is a Special Olympics tradition to encourage good sportsmanship, the teams were announced and the exchange match began. With the support of the ever-present #Roaddron the athletes played their hearts out and were able to experience what it was like to be a professional athlete.
 
Following the match, shortened by bad weather, the players were given a commemorative medal during a ceremony conducted by Marc de Grandpre of the NY Red Bulls.
 
“It is important for games like this to happen so we can spread the word that everyone is equal and it shouldn't matter what disabilities you have because we play as a team,” said partner athlete Dessire Balderas.
 
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.

01 September 12:36 pm

Sporting Kansas City and Kansas City Marriott Downtown are launching a month-long, enter-to-win sweepstakes beginning today. Sporting KC fans can enter to win online at SportingKC.com/Marriott.

Monday’s launch of the KC Staycation with the Marriott is offering up a major prize pack for one lucky Sporting KC supporter. The winner receives the following:

  • Two (2) free nights at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown (Dates based on availability)
  • One (1) free dinner for two (2) at the MetropolitanKC
  • Twenty-five (25) dollar voucher to CoffeeCentral
  • Two (2) tickets to a Sporting KC home game
  • One (1) VIP Parking pass
  • Pregame tour and field access pregame
  • Two (2) Sporting KC jerseys
  • Two (2) Sporting KC scarves

The contest ends on September 30th at 11:59 p.m. CT and the winner will be randomly chosen on October 3rd. Be sure to use this discount code to Kansas City Marriott Downtown the next time you're looking for a hotel room in Kansas City! For the official promotion rules, click here.
 

27 August 12:10 pm

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.

   

27 August 8:43 am

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
Arrowhead Stadium
Sporting Park
Johnny's Tavern

Best Sporting KC Player
Dom Dwyer
Graham Zusi
Matt Besler

Best Stadium
Arrowhead Stadium
Kauffman Stadium
Sporting Park

Best Local Hero
Lazlo, 96.5 the Buzz
Matt Besler
George Brett

Best Thing That's Changed in KC in the Past Year
Westport
Streetcar
Sporting KC

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.

22 August 3:28 pm


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)