Out and About
Matt Besler headed back to school on Friday to speak to the students of Platte City Middle School. Besler, commonly referred to as the hometown hero on Sporting Kansas City's roster, was able to shed some light on the triumphs and trials of being a professional athlete. Besler has always made community involvement a high priority on his agenda and Friday's visit allowed Besler the opportunity to interact with some of Kansas City's youth.
Heading up to Platte City Middle School to visit with students and answer ANY questions they might have!
— Matt Besler (@mbesler) January 4, 2013
After the Q&A, students from Platte City were excited to take photos with Besler. Below are a few images from the visit that were posted on social media by the middle schoolers.
After a successful trip to KC back in August, the members of Nixa Soccer Club wanted to host a Sporting KC clinic right at home in their backyard.
Sporting Kansas City staff members, along with Seth Sinovic and the 2012 MLS Defender of the Year, Matt Besler, headed down to Nixa, Missouri last week, and the event couldn’t have gone any better. Over 70 children and teens from the area laced up and participated in an on-field clinic led by the travelling coaches and players of Sporting KC. Following that, everyone headed inside Nixa High School to escape the cold and get a chance to learn a little more about Besler and Sinovic.
Speaking about the clinic, Nixa Soccer Club President Tim Sterling said that, “The professional approach and personal touch that the staff and players presented was top notch. I know we could host another clinic in the future that would be even bigger and better.”
Andrew Anello, an 11-year old Nixa SC player, was ecstatic following the clinic, saying “after being around everyone from Sporting KC, I want to play for them someday instead of in the English Premier League. I am from here and Sporting KC is my favorite team – they are awesome!” He hopes someday he can play at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park and be considered a “hometown hero” to the soccer faithful of KC.
As the kids asked questions and got autographs from the players, Nixa SC board members sat down with the the staff to discuss the best way to continue working together in the future. This immediately led to a discussion about the Sporting Club Network, and we were more than happy to extend an invitation to Nixa Soccer Club.
“We have seen continued growth and support in Southwest Missouri, and are excited to make Nixa the first Network member in the greater Springfield area," Sporting Club Network manager Kristin Bock said. "It is important for us to not only reach youth clubs and players within the greater Kansas City Metro area, but also beyond to help grow the game of soccer.”
We are proud to say that with Nixa Soccer Club’s inclusion into the Sporting Club Network, they become the 30th organization to join, marking a milestone in a period of excellent growth and development of this program. The 2013 season is shaping up to be even more successful and exciting, and we can’t wait for it to come.
To view photos from our offseason trip to Nixa, check out the slideshow below. And if your club is interested in having a similar experience as Nixa Soccer Club, or would like to learn more about the Sporting Club Network, contact Liam O’Connell at email@example.com.
Kei Kamara and Schools for Salone hosted a special viewing of KEI on Sunday as part of a fundraiser at Phoenix Theatres in the Legends shopping center across from LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. The mission of the event was to help raise awareness and funds for Sierra Leoneans as they try to rebuild the many rural schools destroyed during their country's 10-year civil war that ended in 2002.
The event was sponsored by Copper Pot Pictures, Schools for Salone and JFLO Photography and succeeded in raising over $5,000. The highest bid was for an all expenses paid dinner with Jimmy Nielsen at Governor Stumpy's in the Waldo area. The winning bid of $820 also includes round trip limousine service. Dinner with Kamara also went for a hefty price, raising a total of $1,175 between two different winning bidders.
Other high ticket auction items included a signed Nielsen jersey ($250), a signed Kamara jersey ($225) and signed photo collages with pictures taken by local photographer Jeremy Flowers.
Additionally, many Sporting Kansas City players attended the viewing and auction to meet with fans and sign autographs. One lucky winner even won an impromtu offer from Teal Bunbury and Jon Kempin to show up at their child's upcoming soccer match. Thanks to the event, Kamara and Schools for Salone are a little bit closer to acheiving their visions of rebuilding Kamara's native land, Sierra Leone.
Two hundred fifty thousand plus lights were lit at the KCP&L Plaza Lighting Ceremony on Thanksgiving night, but believe it or not, there are still many more lights to be lit in this city! Sporting Kansas City striker Kei Kamara will join Mayor Joe Reardon for the Eighth Annual Downtown Holiday Lighting Festival in Kansas City, Kansas on Friday, November 30, 2012.
The event is from 4:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. with Kamara available for autographs and a meet and greet starting at 6:30 p.m. located to the side of the stage. In addition to the tree lighting, there will be a neighborhood group Christmas tree decorating contest, entertainment by local school and community groups, the Mayor’s reception, an appearance by Santa Claus, classic holiday movies in the commission chambers, and (weather permitting) a hot air balloon night glow. The activities will be held on the First Floor of City Hall located at 701 N. 7th Street, Kansas City, Kansas 66101.
Additionally, over 1,200 goodie bags will be given away that night to children ranging from preschool to grade school. We hope to see you there.
The past year has been an exciting one for more than just the high-paced soccer being played at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. The Sporting Club Network has been incredibly active, holding countless special experiences exclusive to our members in the Kansas City area and beyond. From having our players sign autographs at the opening day of an affiliate’s season, to bringing local youth coaches to pre-game talks led by our coaching staff, to giving member’s access to international clubs’ practices, we here at the Sporting Club Network are doing our best to bring people together through the power of sport.
Fortunately, the word is spreading. Even highly popular outlets like ESPN, have begun taking notice, noting how in just over a year, membership within the Network has gone from zero to over 70,000. And while it may be fun for us to garner national praise, nothing compares to the positive feedback we hear from the participants in our events and the members of our affiliate clubs. A recent testimonial from Kyle Bockover, President of the Southeast Kansas Soccer Academy in Pittsburgh, KS, is a perfect example of this –
“We have seen more growth within our club in the last few months than we have in the entire lifetime of our existence. I firmly believe this is a direct result of our affiliation with SCN… Thank you again for the opportunities you have provided to us. Your generosity and support is making a huge difference for the game in Southeast Kansas!”
For more information on the Sporting Club Network, please contact Liam O’Connell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 913 951 3571. And to view photos from a number of Sporting Club Network events, take a look at the slideshow below:
This past Sunday, October 28th, Sporting Kansas City and the Sporting Club Network made a trip out to the Raytown Soccer Complex to celebrate the end of the KC Metro League season. Youth players from a number of clubs came out, including Blackfire SC, Futura FC, Lee’s Summit Soccer Association, KC Select, and Raytown SC.
Participants were coached through a series of drills and exercises led by some of the Sporting Kansas City coaches, Academy players, and even some of the pros. After some fun on the field, the kids got a chance to sit down and get to know Dom, “K”, and Cyp. To conclude the day everyone picked up a few autographs and got a chance to take a picture with the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophy.
To view photos from this awesome afternoon out in eastern KCMO, check out the slideshow below:
Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper coach John Pascarella teamed up with former KC goalkeeping great and 2000 MLS MVP Tony Meola for Allstate's "Good Hands F.C." clinic in Blue Springs, Missouri on Monday night.
Seven aspiring goalkeepers in the Kansas City metro area were given the opportunity to partake in a two-hour training session with Pascarella and Meola, but none could expect their continued good fortune come the conclusion of training. Though Meola's carefully crafted practice design awards small tokens to participants who demonstrate the best technique and most improvement in a drill, everyone would be a winner by night's end.
Pascarella and Meola, both standouts at their respective colleges, took slightly different paths as they transitioned to the professional level, but both ended up in Major League Soccer during the inaugural season in 1996. Despite suiting up in different uniforms for that very first season, Pascarella and Meola formed a good friendship credited to their large number of mutual friends within the soccer community, including one major influencer, Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes. Allegedly Pascarella has a photo of this power trio from the inaugural MLS season, however -- being from the pre-Twitter and pre-Facebook eras -- it has yet to be leaked onto the internet.
Pascarella and Meola have more in common than just their ties to the professional soccer team in Kansas City. Both individuals play a large role in the community by using soccer as a vehicle to build character among adolescents.
Pascarella donates his time to coaching clinics for all ages and levels in the local area while pitching in with the Sporting Kansas City Academy program. The Penn State graduate was eager to jump at the chance to join forces with Meola’s efforts, who along with the help of Allstate has been able to expand his community outreach to a larger scale.
Meola gathered all of the kids at the conclusion of training and presented them each with a backpack filled with gear, including warm-ups, gloves, shinguards, goalkeeper jerseys and last but certainly not least, four tickets to see the United States Men’s National team take on Guatemala at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Word Cup Qualifying.
Talking with Meola following the surprise, he said, "We've had the opportunity to hold these clinics the last two years as part of Allstate's partnership with MLS and U.S. Soccer. By far, the best part is watching the kids' reactions when they realize they will be going to the big match."
Pascarella agreed, adding, “I really enjoyed being involved with the Allstate clinic on Monday night. It was extremely well organized, very professional, very personable and very charitable with their donations to the kids, especially the wonderful gift of World Cup Qualifying tickets.”
See below to view a photo slide show from the event:
Video and slide show courtesy of Brian Davidson
Missouri Bank will host their annual Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament Throwdown tonight at the mobank Crossroads, located at 125 Southwest Boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri. The tournament originally started in 2002 when the competition was solely internal. Before long, the bracket-style tourney was opened up to the entire Kansas City community and every company in the area was invited to throwdown.
The event is hosted in conjunction with this month's First Fridays and brings together local businesses for good food and fun. Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and Blue will be representing Sporting Kansas City in the field of 64, so make sure you get to the Crossroads District tonight to cheer them on. The contest starts at 5:30 PM CT.
May the best hands win.
Sporting Kansas City striker C.J. Sapong netted a decisive goal in the 93rd minute of play on Friday night to draw Sporting Kansas City level with the Houston Dynamo just seconds before the final whistle. The match marked only the second Friday night game of the season and provided a little extra down time for the guys over the weekend. Here’s a look at what some of the players did with their free Saturday and Sunday.
Soony Saad and Neven Markovic interacted with fans at Expo Americas at Union Station on Saturday. It looks like they made a few friends...
And played co-host to La Gran D radio, Sporting Kansas City's official Spanish-language radio partner...
It didn’t take long for Uri Rosell to earn the support of the community as he scored the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Toronto FC during just his second appearance since joining Sporting Kansas City in August. Rosell joined Roger Espinoza and the Sporting Kansas City street team on Sunday at Expo Americas and kids lined up to get the duo's signatures.
Michael Harrington and Lawrence Olum joined Sporting Club Network affiliate Leavenworth Soccer Club at their kickoff event to celebrate the start of a new season. The event was held at Warren Middle School.
Teal Bunbury on the other hand couldn't spend a Saturday away from LIVESTRONG Sporting Park and made a special appearance at the Pepsi Family Fun Day, which was the kickoff event for PepsiCo’s Employee Appreciation week.
Meanwhile, Eric Kronberg and Kyle Miller were busy finding new homes for their furry friends at the Great Plains SPCA Adopt-a-thon.
Kronberg and Miller aren't the only two dog lovers on Sporting Kansas City. Kei Kamara was the guest of honor at Wayside Waifs' Pooches on the Patio event on Sunday evening. Kamara, along with his dog Chelsea, enjoyed some good cuisine according to Chelsea's Twitter...
— ChelseaTheDog (@ChelseaTheDog23) September 16, 2012
A good weekend had by all!
Knighton Business Solutions teamed up with Big Brothers Big Sisters to host a clinic with Sporting Kansas City players Korede Aiyegbusi, Lawrence Olum and Soony Saad at Sporting Club Training Center in Swope Park on Wednesday. Over 35 big-little matches attended the event and were guided through three different stations by the Sporting Kansas City players and coaching staff. At the conclusion of the session, each little received a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Championship poster signed by Aiyegbusi, Olum and Saad as well as a snack provided by Knighton. In addition, each match received a pair of tickets to the Sporting Kansas City game against the Chicago Fire on September 28 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.
All littles were then entered into a raffle and the winner, Amelia, was gifted a Sporting Kansas City jersey signed by the entire team. We had the opportunity to talk to one of the littles in attendance, and when we asked nine-year-old DaKarie from Eastwood Hills Elementary about the experience, the corners of his mouth turned up as he maturely responded, "I have a nice time out with the players and other kids." DaKarie and the rest of the littles surprised the Sporting Kansas City players with thank you cards with help from their bigs.
Upon receiving the cards, Aiyegbusi said, "It's a good feeling to go out and make someones day, but it's even better when you know the feeling is mutual. The kids were giving us hugs and wanted to take pictures with us, and when they gave us those cards, it just kind of makes your day and reminds you why you're doing what you're doing."
To see for yourself how DaKarie and the rest of the elementary schoolers interacted with the players, check out the slide show below: