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.
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
Best Sporting KC Player
Best Local Hero
Lazlo, 96.5 the Buzz
Best Thing That's Changed in KC in the Past Year
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.
Want to try your hand at outshining Benny Feilhaber and Sal Zizzo? Here’s your chance! Using the hashtag #AskBenny, show us your best lip-syncing moves on Instagram or Vine as your entry to win two (2) Benny Feilhaber Show shirts. Entries must be submitted by Aug. 31 at 11:59 p.m. CT. Good luck!
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)
Four years ago this month, Jon Kempin became the club's first homegrown player and the youngest signing to that point when he turned pro at age 17.
"This is a great day for our organization," Peter Vermes said at the time. "We had the opportunity to identify a talented player in the area, bring him into the (Academy) program and develop him to the point where we could sign him to a professional contract. Jon has incredible talent and now he has the opportunity to continue his development at a professional level and not have the pressure to perform on the field right away.”
Pressure to perform, like being told at halftime to warmup for your MLS debut and then facing a penalty kick for your first shot on goal faced.
Or lining up across from the League's top paid player, U.S. Men's National Team star Michael Bradley, in your first career MLS start.
Or following that with a 2,000+ mile trek to Central America three days later for a Champions League encounter in Nicaragua.
Kempin aced all three tests since being summoned back from his loan to USL PRO affiliate OKC Energy FC in the aftermath of an injury to starting goalkeeper Eric Kronberg and then stepping into the spotlight when Andy Gruenebaum was sidelined with a strained shoulder. Now 21, Kempin is the youngest goalkeeper to start an MLS match in team history and the youngest at his position to appear in MLS this season.
To quote Kempin on his first day as a professional, "Now is when the fun starts."
Update: Congratulations to Ryan McDonald for submitting the winning caption. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize.
Sporting Kansas City moved into first place in the race for the Supporters' Shield after defeating Eastern Conference foes Toronto FC 4-1 at Sporting Park last weekend. Needless to say, the boys brought nothing but smiles during postgame interviews with SKCTV commentator Jake Yadrich - especially two of the three goalscorers (Dom Dwyer and C.J. Sapong) and man of the match himself (Jon Kempin) pictured above.
Dwyer opened the scoring on Saturday by converting two first half penalty kicks to move his goal scoring total to 16, second most in MLS this season. Sapong's second half strike moves the Virginia native into a tie for ninth on KC's all-time chart for career goals scored during the regular season with 20 and Sporting KC's record when Sapong scores is now 19-0-2 including the postseason.
Saturday was the first career MLS start for Kempin, who has been nominated for MLS Save of the Week honors for Week 23 after his crucial stop against Gilberto to preserve his team's lead. Kempin already earned the accolade in Week 22 on his MLS debut after stopping a penalty kick attempt by Darren Mattocks.
Submit your best caption to the photo above by 6 p.m. CT on Thursday, August 21 and you'll be entered to win two tickets to Saturday's match against D.C. United and $20 worth of Kansas Lottery instant scratch tickets. Entries for this week's caption contest, brough to you by Kansas Lottery, can be submitted via the comments section below. You must be 18 years of age or older to be eligible for the prize. Good luck!
A week ago, it was Sporting KC captain Matt Besler. Last night, Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman took his turn. Today, Manager Peter Vermes and four more of the MLS Cup champions joined in on the nationwide movement.
Check out the video playlist below to see Dom Dwyer, Jon Kempin, Jacob Peterson and Erik Palmer-Brown follow their coach's lead after the team's training on Thursday at the Swope Soccer Village.
In addition to raising awareness for the disease, the Ice Bucket Challenge has led to $7.6 million in donations for The ALS Association since July 29. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that currently has no cure. Click here to learn more about ALS and to find out how you can support the cause.
Sporting Kansas City players Graham Zusi, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Dom Dwyer and Soony Saad used their hands to help the Kansas City affiliate of Habitat for Humanity build a home for a local family in need. The home has been in the process of being rebuilt over the past few weeks and the players helped further that progress on Tuesday afternoon.
The Kansas City affiliate of Habitat for Humanity is celebrating its 35th year providing affordable homes to qualified families in the KC area. The organization aims to work on 35 houses over the course of the year, with six of those being complete rebuilds. The house that was worked on during Tuesday’s community effort is one of those six being rebuilt. But it wasn’t just Sporting KC players working. They were joined by people from Fat Brain Toys, Jose Pepper’s and the Legoland Discovery Center.
“I am just overjoyed,” said homeowner Crystal Stewart. “The fact that this many people are willing to donate their time and energy to help me is huge for me. It’s a big day.”
There was a great deal of joy felt outside the home, where people from different organizations were able to come together to help. Putting in the work for a project like this may not be easy, but the players recognized their hard work will pay great dividends.
“I love these kinds of opportunities to give back to the community and help out any way I can,” said Zusi. “It’s even more special when you can see how much the work impacts that person, like it does for Crystal.”
To learn more about the Kansas City affiliate of Habitat for Humanity and how to get involved, visit habitatkc.org.
Landon Donovan's illustrious career -- a career that has spanned 299 MLS regular season starts, the first of which came right here in Kansas City -- will come to a close at the end of the 2014 season. The LA Galaxy and U.S. Men's National Team star revealed the news on Thursday, one day after scoring the game-winning goal in the 2014 MLS All-Star Game and collecting MVP honors.
As such, today's Throwback Thursday turns back the clock to April 28, 2001. Just three days after riding the bench for the United States in a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica at Arrowhead Stadium, a 19-year-old Donovan was in the San Jose Earthquakes starting lineup for the first time in his 14-year MLS career to face the reigning MLS Cup champions on their home field.
"I specifically remember that game because it was Landon's first (start) and there was a lot of hype coming into it," teammate Ian Russell recalled in 2005. "And we got a glimpse of Landon, seeing how dangerous he can be up front for us."
While the game ended in a scoreless draw, Donovan had no shortage of success against Kansas City over the course of his career. His 13 goals and 12 assists in the regular season versus KC make him the only player in MLS history to put up double digits in both goals and assists against Kansas City. And there's also his lone postseason strike in the series: a 117th-minute golden goal in overtime of the 2003 Western Conference Championship en route to his second of five MLS Cup championships.
Then Kansas City Star sports writer Joe Posnanski penned a column dedicated to Donovan back in April 2001 amidst the interest surrounding Donovan's first visit to KC for the dose of club and country double duty. Under the headline "Donovan May Be The Man," he wrote…
What U.S. men's soccer needs is a hero. A goal scorer…Maybe it's Landon Donovan.
On Saturday afternoon, several Sporting KC players joined NAPA KC and The National Guard to host a barbecue and soccer clinic for local military families affected by injuries obtained during service for our country.
The idea for the gathering was originally proposed by Sporting KC defender Kevin Ellis, who has strong family ties to the United States military. Ellis was joined by teammates Matt Besler, Mikey Lopez, Andy Gruenebaum and Graham Zusi for a pick-up game of soccer with the families before enjoying barbecue and ice cream at the Swope Soccer Village. At the end of the event, each of the families received a signed soccer ball from the players.
"It takes a special person to do what they do and I can't put into words the respect I have for these guys," said Ellis, a Kansas City native who has made 14 MLS appearances for the club this season.