Earlier this fall, the Sporting Club Network presented by Price Chopper opened the second edition of its Sporting Kansas City Youth Reporter contest. Hopefuls from around the Midwest submitted their videos explaining why they wanted to be Sporting Kansas City’s next Youth Reporter. After all the entries were reviewed, Carter Stuck, Miles Crosser and Sofia Stockwood were chosen to attend a Sporting KC training session at Swope Soccer Village. The finalists were able to take in practice alongside “The Voice of Sporting Kansas City” Cal Williams. At the conclusion of training, all three had the opportunity to interview their favorite Sporting KC players.
In the end, Sofia was chosen to be Sporting Kansas City’s next Youth Reporter. During Sporting KC’s match against Chicago, Sofia and her family enjoyed an exclusive gameday experience that kicked off with a private tour of Sporting Park. After visiting the TV truck to learn about all that goes into the production of a game, Sofia listened alongside Williams and Diego Gutierrez as they called the game live.
From there, Sofia was recognized on-field at halftime and received a rousing applause from the crowd for her accomplishments. The evening came to a close with Sofia meeting Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and Benny Feilhaber at the conclusion of the match and observing the post-game press conference that featured Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes and Zusi inside the interview room.
“The entire night was so much fun,” said Sofia. “From the TV truck, to hanging out with Cal and Diego in the booth, to getting down on the field and of course meeting Matt Besler, who's my inspiration.”
Congratulations to Sporting St. Croix and El Padrino, who were named Sporting Club Network Academy Affiliate of the Year and Sporting Club Network Club of the year, respectively. Guests from both clubs will attend Sporting Kansas City’s annual team awards ceremony, Pitch Black, on Saturday at Sporting Park.
In their first year as an Academy Affiliate, Sporting St. Croix fully embraced the Academy Affiliate program and rebranding process. Despite being the furthest Academy Affiliate, located in the twin cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, St. Croix consistently had some of the best participation in Academy events. Whether it was sending players and teams to compete during Academy Affiliate Weekend and MLS/MRL league play, or welcoming new Academy Affiliate Technical Director Desmond Armstrong on a visit, St. Croix was always well represented. The club even helped Sporting Kansas City’s Academy teams open up their seasons by playing in their first friendlies.
Sporting Club Network Club of the Year, El Padrino, has enjoyed a tremendously successful year in a variety of ventures. In just their second year as a member, El Padrino secured an agreement with Kansas City Power and Light through the Sporting Club Network and has seen their relationship flourish. Always looking for new ways to grow the game and foster the development of youth players throughout the Kansas City area, El Padrino teamed up with Soccer Nation and unveiled a new, two-field indoor complex, while also helping to support the planned construction of new futsal courts throughout Wyandotte County. El Padrino has hosted three different Sporting Club Network events this year, benefitting both their players and coaches, and has been instrumental in helping the Network and The Victory Project launch the community-focused Recycle Your Game program.
Sporting St. Croix and El Padrino will be formally recognized during Saturday’s Pitch Black awards ceremony in conjunction with Sporting Kansas City’s annual team awards. Fans are invited to vote for the various team awards online here through Thursday, October 9th. To stay up-to-date on the latest Sporting Club Network news, follow the Network on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
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).
The #RoadToKC continued over the weekend as three cities played host to the qualifying round of USSSA’s Juggle, Dribble, Shoot competition. Players from all over the country made the trip to Memphis, Tenn., Belton, Mo., and Richmond, Miss. to show off their skills in the organization’s first competition of its kind.
The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) and the Sporting Club Network have joined together to host the finals of the new JDS competition in Kansas City. After challenging their skills in a wide range of activities -- including maximum-count juggling, timed dribbling through cones and precision shooting -- the top five finalists from each gender's age group will advance to the national finals to be held at Swope Soccer Village on Saturday, Oct. 25. Finalists will then be invited to attend Sporting KC’s match on Sunday, Oct. 26 where they’ll be recognized on field at Sporting Park for their accomplishments.
— Empire State Bldg (@EmpireStateBldg) September 7, 2014
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 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.
Established in 2012, Sporting Club Network aims to create a more personal relationship between its members, their local communities, Sporting Kansas City and its parent company, Sporting Club. Athletes, coaches and families within the Sporting Club Network are provided with exclusive opportunities to interact with members of Sporting Kansas City’s senior team, receive coaching and education instruction from the senior team technical staff, and be recognized at Sporting Park for their efforts to expand the game in their locality.
The end of the year reception gives Sporting Club Network members the opportunity to meet fellow members, exchange ideas and reflect on the many on-and-off-the field accomplishments achieved throughout the year. In conjunction with the annual reception, Sporting Club Network hosts the Kevin Gray Awards.
The Kevin Gray awards, presented by Pepsi, were established in honor of the late Kansas City Sports Commission President. Kevin’s passion for the game and his desire to see it grow in the Kansas City area are exemplified in the winners of his namesake. The Kevin Gray Player of the Year Award recognizes youth, as well as adult, players for their outstanding performance on the field. The Kevin Gray Coach of the Year Award is given to a Kansas City coach who has led his or her team to remarkable success. The final award, Soccer Ambassador of the Year, is presented to an individual whose commitment to the game and tireless effort in support of its growth reflects the ideals that the Sports Commissioner Gray embodied.
The Kevin Gray Awards, co-sponsored by Sporting Kansas City and Global Sports International, bestowed the following awards, as decided by a panel of soccer leaders in Kansas City:
- Male Youth Player of the Year – Jo Jo Piatczyc
- Female Youth Player of the Year – Cristina DeZeeuw
- Adult Player of the Year – Seth Sinovic
- Coach of the Year – Peter Vermes
- Soccer Ambassador of the Year – Robb Heineman
Gutierrez has a special connection to the club and the Kansas City area. He was a graduate of Blue Springs High School and was a two-time NSCAA All-American at Rockhurst University before joining the club in Major League Soccer’s inaugural season in 1996. He would go on to win the MLS Cup in 1998, four U.S. Open Cup championships and record 40 career playoff appearances (third most in MLS history).
At the conclusion of the reception, guests enjoyed the game and took in the electric atmosphere as they watched Sporting KC go on to beat the Galaxy by a 2-1 scoreline. The award winners, however, were given a truly unique experience as they were escorted onto the field and recognized for their achievements at halftime.
Thank you to all of our network members and guests for making this year's Sporting Club Network Reception and Kevin Gray Awards Ceremony such a memorable experience! To stay up-to-date on upcoming events and for all things Sporting Club Network, be sure to follow on Twitter and like the SCN on Facebook.
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.