When MLS Cup 2013 kicks off at 3 p.m. CT on Saturday at Sporting Park, ESPN will nationally televise Major League Soccer's championship match for the fifth straight year. Today, the worldwide leader in sports unveiled the network's extensive programming plans ahead of the marquee match, which will also air on Watch ESPN, ESPN Deportes Radio and ESPN International. Check out the highlights below:
Commentator Adrian Healey, analyst Taylor Twellman and reporter Mónica Gónzalez will call the action with host Max Bretos, Alexi Lalas, Kasey Keller and Alejandro Moreno providing studio coverage from site.
MLS commissioner Don Garber will be interviewed on the ESPN set at halftime.
Kenneth Garay (play-by-play), Elmer Polanco (analyst) and Diego Cora (sideline) will be the commentary team for ESPN Deportes Radio, whose coverage starts with a one-hour pre-game show at 2 p.m CT.
ESPN International will televise MLS Cup 2013 on ESPN networks in 59 countries and territories covering more than 22 million television homes. Richard Mendez and Giovanni Savarese will call the game for ESPN International networks in Spanish.
ESPN FC previews MLS Cup on Wednesday with Omar Gonzalez, on Thursday with Twellman joining from KC and on Friday with Twellman/Keller reporting from Kansas City. All episodes air at 4:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
Beginning Friday at 5 p.m. CT through kickoff on Saturday, all editions of ESPN’s flagship news program SportsCenter (ESPN and ESPNEWS) will feature MLS Cup 2013 segments including reports and analysis from Kansas City.
Jeff Carlisle will report from Kansas City beginning Wednesday. His work for ESPNFC.com will include an interview with Garber, player-focused pieces and a preview of the match.
ESPNFC.com will host a Boot Room chat during the match and a Boot Room Extra post-game show.
To celebrate the second leg of the Eastern Conference Championship coming to sold out Sporting Park, Sporting Kansas City is auctioning off five unique packages for fans. Each package includes an autographed item and a pair of tickets for the most anticipated match of the season to date. Proceeds from this auction will go to support the mission of The Victory Project -- our foundation to encourage, celebrate and help kids in Kansas City who are battling cancer.
The auction -- operated online at biddingforgood.com -- is now open and will close at 12 p.m. CT (noon) on Wednesday, Nov. 20. Check out the package options below:
Auction #1: This package includes an authentic, game-worn Sporting KC jersey signed by Graham Zusi on both the front and back, along with two (2) tickets to the Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo playoff game on Saturday, November 23. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. CT. Seat location: Section 103, Row 12, Seats 15-16.
Starting Bid: $250 (Click Here)
Auction #2: This package includes an authentic, game-worn Sporting KC jersey signed by Aurelien Collin on both the front and back, along with two (2) tickets to the Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo playoff game on Saturday, November 23. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. CT. Seat location: Section 103, Row 12, Seats 13-14.
Starting Bid: $250 (Click Here)
Auction #3: This package includes a full team-signed Breast Cancer Awareness soccer ball, along with two (2) tickets to the Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo playoff game on Saturday, November 23. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. CT. Seat location: Section 131, Row 23, Seats 19-20.
Starting Bid: $150 (Click Here)
Auction #4: This package includes a full team-signed Boulevard Brewing Company playoff canvas, along with two (2) tickets to the Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo playoff game on Saturday, November 23. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. CT. Seat location: Section 104, Row 21, Seats 3-4.
Starting Bid: $150 (Click Here)
Auction #5: This package includes a full team-signed Boulevard Brewing Company playoff canvas, along with two (2) tickets to the Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo playoff game on Saturday, November 23. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. CT. Seat location: Section 104, Row 21, Seats 5-6.
Starting Bid: $150 (Click Here)
Ever wonder what it would feel like to score a goal in front of the KC Cauldron at halftime during a Sporting KC match? Well, according to Sporting Kaw Valley player Kanak Masten, there may have been “a lot of people watching, but there was no pressure really.” Confident words, to say the least, from the Academy Affiliate player and 2013 Chipotle Challenge Champion.
Kanak recently earned the opportunity to compete in the final Chipotle Challenge of 2013 after winning a skills competition at the end of a Sporting Club Network mini-clinic in September. At various camps and mini-clinics throughout the year, Sporting KC’s youth soccer staff held Chipotle Challenges to test the dribbling, juggling and shooting abilities of all participants involved. Kanak was one of six to win these contests and with this honor came not only a spot in the final Chipotle Challenge on-field at Sporting Park, but also a gift card provided by Chipotle worth 25 free burritos for him and his friends!
If a team’s worth of free burritos and the chance to compete in a skills contest in front of a sold-out Sporting Park wasn’t enough, Chipotle and the SCN even had a grand prize lined up for the eventual Chipotle Challenge Champion: dinner with a Sporting KC player! As you can see in the video above, Kanak got to take some of his close friends to a Chipotle location in Kansas City and have dinner with one of his heroes, Sporting KC forward Dom Dwyer.
To see pictures from the final Chipotle Challenge at Sporting Park, view the slideshow below. And to stay up to date on future promotions and engagements from the Sporting Club Network, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
Photos from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
The brand new championship field at the Swope Soccer Village (63rd and Lewis Rd.) in Kansas City, MO is officially open, hosting its kickoff event on Tuesday with several key stakeholders in attendance. Mayor Sly James, Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Circo, 5th District Councilman Michael Brooks, Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders, Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby and KC Parks Commissioners all participated in the ceremonial first kick on the natural grass surface.
Today, the Big 12 Soccer Championship begins with the following four quarterfinal match-ups:
No. 4 Iowa State vs. No. 5 Baylor at 11:30 a.m.
No. 3 Texas vs. No. 6 Oklahoma State at 2:00 p.m.
No. 1 West Virginia vs. No. 8 Kansas at 5:30 p.m.
No. 2 Texas Tech vs. No. 7 TCU at 8:00 p.m.
All four matches today, as well as Friday's semifinal rounds, will be streamed live online by the Big 12 Digital Network on Big12Sports.com. Tickets are available online via Ticketmaster.com and fans can purchase $9 day passes or a $14 tournament pass that provides access to all seven matches.
Two local standouts return to Kansas City for the postseason competition. Overland Park, Kan. native and Blue Valley North alum Frances Silva was named the Big 12 Conference's Offensive Player of the Year after leading the league in points (37), goals (12) and assists (13) in her senior year for regular season champions West Virginia. Lee's Summit North alum Allie Stephenson earned All-Big 12 Second Team recognition in her sophomore season at Oklahoma State with six goals and three assists.
The conference's top ranked team in the national polls is No. 11 Texas Tech. The Red Raiders went unbeaten in Big 12 play (6-0-2) and are 16-1-2 overall in 2013. The winner of the Big 12 Soccer Championship earns an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Check out some of the local media coverage below and follow @SwopeSoccer on Twitter for all the latest.
- New Soccer Field Opens at Swope Park (KSHB)
- Fans get a kick out of Kansas City's new soccer field (KSHB)
- Kansas City's new soccer village kicks off (KCTV)
- Complex meant to boost soccer in urban core (WDAF)
- Swope Park Soccer Village expansion nets Big 12 tournament (KC Business Journal)
Photo by USA Today Sports Images
The buzz is getting #Louder for Sporting Kansas City's home playoff match at 8 p.m. CT on Wednesday at Sporting Park and that includes plenty of soccer chatter on the local radio. U.S. Men's National Team players Matt Besler and Graham Zusi were guests during the morning drive time while the afternoon airwaves awaited Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman.
Heineman joined The Day Shift with Henry Lake and Jay Binkley on 610 Sports Radio to discuss the MLS Cup Playoffs format, the team's support both home and away, as well as the prospect of bringing the National Soccer Hall of Fame to Kansas City.
Besler was a guest on The Border Patrol with Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty on Sports Radio 810 WHB to talk about tomorrow's decisive second leg, the controversial offside call in Saturday's match and the team's approach to the aggregate goal series.
Afentra's Big Fat Morning Buzz welcomed Zusi on 96.5 the Buzz to discuss the team's postseason run, rivalries between fan bases and the atmosphere at Sporting Park from the recently announced Sporting KC studios presented by Boulevard.
For more Sporting KC talk on the radio dial, tune in to The Sporting KC Show from 7-8 p.m. CT tonight on Sports Radio 810 WHB with hosts Callum Williams, Andy Edwards and Carter Augustine. Tonight's show includes an interview with New England Revolution defender Jose Goncalves and fans are encouraged to join the discussion by calling 913-3-810-810.
When former KC Wizards and US Men’s National Team coach, Bob Gansler, returned to Kansas City for his induction into the Sporting Legends, he made a point to spend some time doing what he does best – coach! The night before seeing his name revealed alongside Preki and Meola’s on the Victory Suite of Sporting Park, Bob took the field to lead a Coaching Education session, with Sporting Kansas City’s U14 Academy team serving as the demo team.
One of the events offered by the Sporting Club Network, Coaching Educations provide SCN member coaches with exclusive access to Sporting KC’s senior team technical staff. These 90-minute coaching clinics are led by one of SKC’s professional coaches and cover a variety of topics aimed to help local coaches at every level of the game. In special instances, the SCN has even been able to offer sessions with European clubs like Montpelier HSC, Stoke City FC, and Newcastle United FC, to name a few. This particular session led by Bob Gansler focused on the topic, “Possession in the Final Third”, and provided Sporting Club Network coaches the opportunity to see one of the game’s best coaches spend time honing the skills of some of the best talent the Midwest has to offer.
To see pictures of Gansler leading this Coaching Education session, as well as images of induction into the Sporting Legends during halftime of the October 18th Sporting KC match, view the slideshow below. And to stay up to date on all Sporting Club Network events and promotions, be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
On Wednesday, Sporting KC hosted the club’s first ladies night – Pumps on the Pitch. The special ticket package included entry into a pre-game party where women of all ages were invited to enjoy food, refreshments and participate in several activities, including painting lessons, mini makeovers and massages. A photo booth with Sporting KC players was also set up so participants could take home a souvenir and each ticket holder received a goodie bag courtesy of Hallmark Sinceramente. Wine tasting was sponsored by Barefoot Wine and chocolate donated by Andres Chocolate was provided for all the women who attended. A post game autograph session with Sporting KC’s Aurelien Collin capped off the evening.
Proceeds from the night’s silent auction, which included a pair of hand painted Sporting KC pumps autographed by the team, and a percentage of ticket sales will be donated to The Victory Project – the charitable arm of Sporting Club which has a mission to help children in Kansas City who are battling cancer.
To see pictures from Wednesday’s event, view the slideshow below, and to stay up to date on The Victory Project, be sure to follow us on Twitter.
Sunday was a busy day for the Sporting Club Network, with player appearances spread out over the Metro Area at three different locations. Accompanied by members of the SCN Staff, Sporting Kansas City players Mikey Lopez, Jon Kempin, and Seth Sinovic all took some time to sign autographs and take pictures with fans.
First round draft pick Mikey Lopez appeared at Sporting Kaw Valley's Concussion Awareness and Prevention Clinic. Thanks to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, many parents and players were informed on the dangers and side effects of concussions. Players were able to experience the "Impact" concussion test and had the chance to meet Mikey and hear of his experiences with concussions throughout his soccer career.
Goalkeeper Jon Kempin attended Sunflower Soccer's Governor's Cup in Topeka, KS. Topeka played host to the girls tournament this weekend with over sixty five teams competing. Jon was thrilled to be making an appearance at a tournament which he had played in when he was younger and was overwhelmed by the support he received from the fans who stopped by. Sunflower Soccer will host the boys side of the Governor's Cup next weekend.
Finally, defender Seth Sinovic appeared at the Special Olympics Kansas’ Unified Soccer Championship Tournament at Harmon High School. The Unified Sports League 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. Seth was honored to be invited to this event and enjoyed spending some time with everyone who came out to support.
To see pictures from Sunday's Special Olympics appearance, view the slideshow below, and to stay up to date on the Sporting Club Network, be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
When the U.S. Men's National Team takes the field next summer in Brazil, it will mark their seventh straight appearance at the FIFA World Cup. That streak started all the way back in 1990 when Bob Gansler led the United States -- captained by Peter Vermes -- to the country's first World Cup appearance in 40 years.
Gansler, a former player with 25 caps for the U.S. MNT, went on to become Kansas City's longest-serving head coach for eight seasons from 1999-2006. His 95 career wins rank seventh most in MLS history and he led KC to five straight playoff appearances from 2000-2004. In 2000, Gansler was named MLS Coach of the Year for his role in the team's MLS Cup and Supporters' Shield trophies. In 2004, he lifted the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and led KC back to the MLS Cup final.
He was honored with the prestigious Werner Fricker Builder Award by the US Soccer Federation in 2008 and was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2011. On Friday, Gansler will be formally inducted into the inaugural class of Sporting Legends at halftime of Sporting KC's regular season home finale against D.C. United (7 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Network).
Sporting Legends, a new initiative paying tribute to club icons, provides a platform for inductees to re-engage with the local soccer community and recognizes the roles individuals within the organization have played in the growth of soccer in Kansas City.
Sporting Park is the only venue to host the U.S. Men's National Team each of the last three years and two U.S. MNT players gave the state-of-the-art stadium rave reviews upon arriving in Kansas City this week. Forward Terrence Boyd was asked by a Twitter follower if the Sporting Park locker rooms are better than those he's seen in Europe. His response...
@RhoKnight better? Not even Real Madrid has such a locker room
— Terrence Boyd (@TBoyd91) October 10, 2013
And captain Tim Howard -- one of two players on tonight's roster to have played in each of the previous two U.S. MNT games at Sporting Park -- praised the supporters for their role in transforming Kansas City into the Soccer Capital of America.
"I love coming to Kansas City now," Howard said. "It's one of the soccer hotbeds. And every time we play here the crowd has been better than fantastic. They've welcomed us. They've made it really feel like it's a home game; they make it difficult on the other team coming in. When the venue was selected, we were excited because this is always a place that -- from a soccer standpoint and an atmosphere -- it's fantastic."
A limited number of tickets are available for tonight's match and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com or at the Sporting Park Box Offices.