Every year, MLS WORKS teams up with Wells Fargo to honor individuals who have gone out of their way to make a difference in their community. This is in effort to recognize and celebrate these selfless individuals’ hard work which betters the world around them. Nominees must be leaders in their community who have used soccer as a tool for improvement.
One Community MVP is chosen from each of the 20 MLS club markets based on their efforts in social issues, health issues and community service. This year, each of the Community MVP's will be recognized nationally at the 2015 MLS All-Star Game in Denver.
Last year, Brandi Leggett was chosen to represent the Sporting KC community for her involvement in the Sporting Kansas City Active Readers Program. Leggett helped create the program in 2013, which builds enthusiasm for reading through soccer.
Do you know someone that has made a difference in their community through soccer this year? From now until July 5, fans can nominate individuals who go above and beyond to improve and inspire their community. Go to www.mlssoccer.com/communitymvp to submit a nomination.
Grand Prize voting will take place from July 10 through July 29. The winner will be announced during halftime of the 2015 MLS All-Star Game.
For this last Kevin Gray Awards Spotlight, all eyes turn toward Nick Besler, the 2011 Kevin Gray Male Youth Player of the Year. Since receiving the honor following his record-breaking career at Blue Valley West High School, Besler has enjoyed plenty of soccer success both at the University of Notre Dame and now with the Portland Timbers. A three-year starter while at Notre Dame, Besler certainly made an impact in the midfield for the Irish, notching spots on the All-ACC First Team and NCAA All-Tournament Team in 2013. Nick also served as team captain during his senior season, which only added to his already impressive soccer résumé. Despite all of these individual accolades, though, Besler believes that there is one team achievement that stands above the rest.
“The national championship I won my junior year is what I'm most proud of," Besler said of Notre Dame's victory over Maryland in the 2013 final. "While I have won individual awards as well, there is that feeling of accomplishing something together as a team that is much more rewarding. Winning a national championship is something that I will never forget."
The Irish won by a 2-1 scoreline and Besler assisted the goal that tied the game in the 40th minute. The following year, Notre Dame earned a #1 seed in the College Cup and advanced to the third round before falling 1-0 to eventual winners Virginia.
Although the team came up a bit short in 2014, Besler graduated from Notre Dame with his sights set on a professional soccer career—and rightly so. This past January, Nick was selected fifth overall by the Portland Timbers in the 2015 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, which made him the highest MLS draft pick in Notre Dame history. The previous owner of that distinction was Nick’s older brother, Matt -- the Sporting Kansas City team captain and World Cup veteran was selected eighth overall in 2009. Of his relationship with his brother, Nick says that “Matt has been a great role model for me…and the way he goes about his own career has been the thing that I've noticed the most.”
With regard to his time with the Timbers thus far, Nick pointed out that the main difference he has observed between college and professional soccer is the speed of play.
“Everything has to be quicker at this level,” he said, “[but] I feel like I have adjusted well to the new city and the new team.”
Looking ahead, Besler says that “my plan is to keep growing as a soccer player and continue to improve. Right now, I will continue to get minutes with [the Timbers’ USL developmental side] T2 and hopefully I will have an impact with the first team.”
Best of luck to Nick in the future! If all goes well, we at Sporting KC will look forward to potential Besler v. Besler match-ups whenever the Timbers come to town. Click here to read more about the Besler brothers’ “First Family” status within the Notre Dame men’s soccer program.
All eyes in Major League Soccer will be on #SKCvDAL on Friday night at Sporting Park in the Week 13 "Viernes de Futbol" match-up. It kicks off a three-game homestand for Sporting Kansas City featuring back-to-back matches against the top two teams in the MLS power rankings followed by a highly-anticipated I-70 showdown with St. Louis FC in the U.S. Open Cup.
The best place to see all the action? Sporting Park of course. Standing Room Only tickets are available for tomorrow night's rematch with FC Dallas and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com or at the stadium box offices on gameday.
But if you can't make it to the match, take advantage of the guide below so you don't miss a moment thanks to television, radio and online coverage.
Local TV: KMCI-TV 38 the Spot
Local Radio: Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) | La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish)
Sporting Kansas City's flagship station KMCI-TV 38 the Spot will be providing a live three-hour broadcast for local viewers with the commentary from Nate Bukaty, Andy Gruenebaum, Jake Yadrich and Kacie McDonnell available throughout the duration of the match. Tune in at 7:30 p.m. CT for a 30-minute pre-game show leading up to kick off at Sporting Park.
Sports Radio 810 WHB will simulcast the KMCI-TV call on 810 AM, 810whb.com and through the station's free mobile app before going live from the Boulevard Members Club with The Final Whistle postgame show hosted by Dave Borchardt and Carter Augustine. In addition, La Grande 1340 AM will air the match live for Spanish listeners through the voices of Enrique Morales, Raul Villegas and Alejandro Cabero.
National TV: UniMas and Unvision Deportes
National Radio: SiriusXM FC (Channel 94)
Online: MLS LIVE, UnivisionDeportes.com
Friday's match is the first of three Sporting KC matches in 2015 to be nationally televised on UniMas/UDN -- and streamed online at UnivisionDeportes.com -- as part of the new "Viernes de Futbol" national TV window. Raul Guzman (play-by-play), Marcelo Balboa (analyst) and Jorge Calvo (sideline reporter) will be on-site at Sporting Park for live Spanish commentary, while Paul Caligiuri and Ramsés Sandoval will be the talent for the English-language broadcast available through SAP functionality.
In addition, SiriusXM FC (Channel 94) will carry #SKCvDAL coast-to-coast on Friday for satellite radio subscribers in the U.S. and MLS LIVE users in Canada or Mexico will also have access to the broadcast in real-time on all supported devices. Please note: Friday's match will be blacked out for MLS LIVE users in the United States and made available in the archives 48 hours after the match.
Finally, Friday's encounter will be broadcast well beyond North American borders through the following MLS rights holders:
This. This is how you react to two stoppage time goals.
Major League Soccer enters its third week of the season with another exciting slate of games scheduled. Aside from Sporting KC's match against the Portland Timbers Saturday night at Sporting Park (Tickets), there are three nationally-televised matches that we'll be watching this weekend:
Philadelphia Union vs. FC Dallas - Saturday, March 21 - 3pm CT | Univision Deportes Network
The only perfect team in Major League Soccer opens week three with a road test in Chester, Pennsylvania, against the Philadelphia Union. FC Dallas is coming off a 3-1 win over Sporting KC after their season-opening 1-0 win against the San Jose Earthquakes. Philadelphia earned a heartbreaking 3-3 tie last week against Real Salt Lake after a questionable call gave RSL a game-tying penalty kick in the final minutes of the game.
New York Red Bulls v. D.C. United - Sunday, March 22 - 4pm CT | ESPN2
This week's edition of the I-95 series features two of Major League Soccer's original clubs. The New York Red Bulls will play their first home game of 2015 this weekend against D.C. United. The Red Bulls tied Sporting KC 1-1 in the team's first match of the year, while D.C. United opened the year with a 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact.
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Chicago Fire - Sunday, March 22 - 6pm CT | FOX Sports 1
The second match of Sunday's MLS doubleheader is a long-time coming for Major League Soccer. After not securing a stadium for the San Jose Earthquakes in the mid 2000s, the club left the city for Houston prior to the 2006 campaign. Two years later, San Jose was awarded a new club and on Sunday it will play its first game at Avaya Stadium (pictured, right), the latest soccer-specific-stadium in the United States. San Jose is coming off an impressive 3-2 win at Seattle, while the Chicago Fire are looking for their first point of the year after back-to-back losses in the season's first two weeks.
As he has repeatedly shown during his time at Sporting Kansas City, Dom Dwyer is one of the most vibrant personalities in Major League Soccer. Even during a typical day of preseason training in Tucson, Arizona -- where Dwyer's team is competing in the 2015 Desert Diamond Cup -- the Englishman is quick to embrace the words of MLS veteran and fellow friend Mike Magee: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it."
MLSsoccer.com followed Dwyer on a sunny Tucson afternoon earlier this month. Check out the video above, as the newlywed 24-year-old shows off his new tattoos, goes ding dong ditching with his teammates and enjoys a little poolside relaxation.
After a two-year stint in England with Wigan Athletic, All-Star midfielder Roger Espinoza has returned to Major League Soccer. Sporting Kansas City's marquee offseason signing, the 28-year-old Honduran international is back where he spent his first five professional seasons from 2008-2012.
Espinoza appeared today on the latest episode of MLSsoccer.com's Extra Time Radio to discuss his move to Kansas City, wedding gifts for Dom Dwyer and his experience playing in England. You can catch Espinoza's segment below and visit MLSsoccer.com for the full podcast episode.
Sporting Kansas City added four match times -- all originally announced as TBD -- to the team's 2015 schedule this week. The below matches will kick off at the following times based on local, regional and national television broadcast agreements:
- March 28 at New York City FC: 6 p.m. CT
- May 23 at Seattle Sounders FC: 9 p.m. CT
- July 12 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC: 8 p.m. CT
- Aug. 8 at Toronto FC: 3 p.m. CT
In addition, a change was made last month to move the start time for Sporting Kansas City's home match on Aug. 15 against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC to an 8 p.m. CT kick off -- 30 minutes later than previously scheduled, in order to accomodate TSN and RDS (Major League Soccer's national broadcast partners in Canada).
Match times are now set for all 34 regular season matches (subject to change) during Sporting Kansas City's 2015 MLS season. Visit SportingKC.com/schedule for additional information and click here to download the team's matches to your personal calendar(s).
The first 10,000 fans at Sporting Kansas City's home opener on March 8 will receive the team's 2015 schedule magnet courtesy of Dairy Farmers of America. A limited number of tickets remain available via Ticketmaster.com.
On Friday, Seth Sinovic was a guest on 610 Sports Radio during a segment of Fescoe in the Morning. Sporting Kansas City's 2014 Defender of the Year discussed a variety of topics -- anticipation for the preseason, the arrival of Roger Espinoza and Major League Soccer's collective bargaining agreement, to name a few. Alongside hosts Bob Fescoe and Josh Klingler, Sinovic also talked college basketball, the NFL Playoffs and prevailing over his teammates in fantasy football. Check out the podcast below for the full interview.
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.