Although the Sporting Kansas City players were off from MLS action over the weekend, six of the players made sure to spend time with Special Olympics Kansas athletes. SOKS is a non-profit organization that provides year-round sports competitions for those with intellectual disabilities.
Chance Myers, Oriol Rosell, Seth Sinovic, Eric Kronberg, Michael Thomas and C.J. Sapong had a blast playing a variety of games with the athletes. First, the Sporting KC players participated in basic dribbling and shooting drills with the SOKS athletes. Then the real fun began when they played games such as beat the crab (athletes try to dribble the ball past players that are in a crab position) and treasure hunt (athletes dribble the ball to a pile of treasure, pick up a piece and take it back to a Sporting player).
To finish up, Sporting KC players signed autographs, took pictures, and gave out mini scarves to the fun, spirited group of athletes and families. This fun-filled day was made possible soon after Special Olympics of Kansas became the most recent Sporting Club Network member. For more information on the Sporting Club Network and the benefits of being a member, please visit the SCN website, Twitter, and Facebook.
Sporting Kansas City Academy Director of Coaching Jon Parry is in Colorado this week continuing his pursuit of the Elite Formation Coaching License. The 16-month youth development course, which began with a trip to France earlier this year, is a product of Major League Soccer's new partnership with the French Football Federation. Parry and representatives from the other 18 MLS academies are joined by a delegation from the FFF at Dick's Sporting Goods Park from June 14-24 for the third phase in an eight step process.
Parry will participate in 10 days of daily classroom and on-field sessions within the group setting, focused on a variety of topics ranging from tactical to mental aspects of the game. Check out ColoradoRapids.com for a full list of attendees.
Next up will be a return to France in September for further collaboration and coaching development.
After the long wait for warm weather, the Kansas City Missouri Parks and Recreation Soccer Abilities Camp was finally held with more perfect weather than any kid could ask for. Kids from around the Kansas City area -- normally at a disadvantage to compete in soccer -- relaxed and played with others just like them. They even had the opportunity to work on drills with a few Sporting Kansas City players.
The event is held annually at the Sporting Club Training Center in Swope Park for kids with a variety of disabilities, although they might fool on the field. Once the participants started playing and laughing, their true abilities and kindness shined.
Benny Feilhaber, Aurelien Collin, Seth Sinovic and Michael Thomas played with the participants through small acts such as passing the ball, goalkeeping or even giving piggy back rides during a scrimmage. Not only did players help, but Futura FC, a local club team, and many other volunteers came to help with drills as well.
To end the night, kids, players and volunteers shared popsicles, hugs and silly stories. Players also signed player cards, took pictures and gave out mini scarves to all in attendance. The wait for weather was worth it after all the memories created.
Although Sporting Kansas City had the weekend off from MLS play, we hope you made it out to see Benny Feilhaber, Jimmy Nielsen, Ike Opara or Blue around the Kansas City area this weekend. For pictures of the events, check out the slideshow above.
Friday, June 7
- Benny Feilhaber signed autographs at Lee’s Summit Downtown Days 810 WHB Sports Zone tent
- Jimmy Nielsen had a book signing and autograph signing at Shop MO Sports in Liberty
- Blue walked a few laps and tried to block soccer shots from kids at Lee’s Summit’s Relay for Life at Lee’s Summit High School
Saturday, June 8
- Ike Opara handed out Kickstart by Mountain Dew scarves and signed autographs at GasMart USA
If you were unable to see the players this weekend, you can catch the team back on the pitch on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. CT at Sporting Park to take on USL Pro affiliate Orlando City.
When Sporting Kansas City and Rally House announced a new three-year sponsorship agreement earlier this month, we hinted that there would be some pretty cool promotions coming out of the partnership. Like Kei Kamara signing autographs last night at their Oak Park location. And Jimmy Nielsen hosting a book signing event at the NKC store on June 8.
Now comes tomorrow's launch of the Rally House Ultimate Fan Experience which is offering up a major prize pack for one lucky Sporting KC supporter. Check out what the winner walks away with:
- $500 credit/gift card for shopping spree with a Sporting Kansas City player
- Authentic Sporting Kansas City jersey
Two (2) tickets to July 13 match against Toronto FC, featuring...
- Sporting Kansas City player meet and greet
- Sporting Park stadium tour
- Pre-game field access to watch warm-ups
Starting tomorrow, enter to win online at SportingKC.com/RallyHouse or fill out a form at one of the seven Kansas City metro area Rally House and Kansas Sampler locations. The contest ends June 30th and the winner will be randomly chosen on July 2nd.
It's now official. AS Roma will face the MLS All-Stars in the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game. Get to know a bit about the opponent below with information on the club's history, titles, and more.
AS Roma were founded in 1927 and are tied for second-most seasons in Italy's top flight (Serie A) with 80. The club has competed in Serie A for 61 consecutive seasons. Roma currently play in the Stadio Olimpicio but will be constructing a new stadium to be completed by 2016.
- Italian Cup (9) - 1963–64, 1968–69, 1979–80, 1980–81, 1983–84, 1985–86, 1990–91, 2006–07, 2007–08
- Serie A (3) - 1941-42, 1982-83, 2000-01
- Italian SuperCup (2) - 2001, 2007
- Francesco Totti - The team captain who has scored over 200 goals for the club. He helped lead Italy to the 2006 FIFA World Cup title and is widely considered one of the greatest players in the history of the club.
- Michael Bradley - The American started his career in MLS and has settled in as a two-way midfielder for Roma. Bradley has 75 caps for the United States Men's National Team.
- Daniele De Rossi - The midfielder has consistently been one of the top players in Serie A and still features for the Italian National Team. De Rossi has made over 300 appearances for Roma and played in two FIFA World Cups (2006 & 2010).
To commemorate Memorial Day, Sporting Kansas City asked veterans to share stories about moments when their military service and soccer crossed paths. Below are a few of the best submissions as we remember our armed forces who have sacrificed their lives in commitment to our country.
I had the choice when enlisting in the Army back in 2001 of either Germany or Korea. Knowing that the 2002 World Cup was in Korea I had to go to Korea being the huge soccer nut that I am. Korea was a blast and I did see a World Cup game while stationed in Korea. - Dan (Army)
I spent a total of 33 years in the United States Air Force, 8 1/2 years on active duty and 24 1/2 years with the 442nd Fighter Wing (USAF Reserves). In 1980, my wife and I deployed to England for 79 days. During this period, I spent time in Darahan, Saudi Arabia providing embassy support for US Embassies throughout Saudi Arabia. While there I witnessed youngsters playing futbol on the sand pitches near where we were working from early in the mornings until night fall. I have to say, this was very impressive due to the extreme heat they were enduring. Another time while I was deployed to the town of Cuxhaven in northern Germany, I went for a walk after work and followed the sounds of what appeared to be some sort of sporting event. I strolled up a long winding path through the forest and came upon what was an "intramural" soccer match between young and old adults. This was in late January and it was cold and a heavy mist was falling. I hung around till it was almost too dark to find my way back to my hotel enjoying this friendly competition of what I found out through the players was a match pitting two local factories. - Bobby (Air Force)
Ft. Jackson, basic training 2011-- a spontaneous game of soccer broke out in our barracks when somebody wadded up an entire roll of duck tape belonging to the Drill Sgts. into a makeshift soccer ball during a rare moment of down time!! Hooah! - Jose (Army)
I was never a huge soccer fan even though I went to Galaxy games when I was stationed in California. What really brought a love of the game to my heart was watching futbol with the Peruvian commandos and Australian Marines and seeing how it's a way of life in other parts of the world. I started paying a lot more attention to the sport when I got back to KC, and thankfully Sporting was there to root for! - Ryan (Marines)
While deployed to Iraq in 2004 I experienced many things good and bad. One of my fondest memories happened when some of my fellow soldiers and I played a pick up game of soccer with the Turkish workers on our forward operating base. It was very hot that day in Mosul. We waited for evening to approach to begin the game. We played on a decent dirt field that actually had two goals. The game was very intense. Everyone playing seemed to forget where we were in the world and performed as though they were on the world stage playing for country. It was a true escape. After the hard fought game we shook hands and had a new respect for one another. That game gave all of us the distraction we needed with a game we all loved. - John (Army)
Give it up for #SKCNation, now more than 100,000 strong on Sporting Kansas City's official Google+ page. The club's followers on the platform moved into six digits today and to commemorate the occasion, we're launching our official Google+ Community and hosting a Google+ Hangout with Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman at 4:30 p.m. CT on Tuesday. Submit your questions for @RobbHeineman by becoming a member of the Sporting KC Google+ Community and joining the conversation ahead of Tuesday's Google+ Hangout.
Sporting Kansas City's social media presence continues to reach new levels with approximately 300,000 users engaged with the team across all social platforms. The leading four social channels?
Find more metrics below for the club's growing popularity on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare:
- Averaging 4-5% growth on Twitter month-over-month with more than 4,000 retweets, 2,000 favorites, 1,300 at replys and 5,500 mentions on average per month.
- Averaging 2-3% growth on Facebook month-over-month with more than 36,000 likes, 1,800 comments and 1,700 shares on average per month.
- Sporting KC boasted highest engagement on Facebook among all MLS clubs in April at 52%.
- Seventy-five percent of all Sporting KC Facebook followers are between the ages of 13-34.
- Averaging 1-2% growth on Foursquare month-over-month with nearly 150 likes on tips and/or checkins.
Photo credit: Necessary Exposure
Sporting Kansas City's third round match in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is now set. We knew the date: Tuesday, May 28. We knew the location: Sporting Park. And now we know the opponent: Des Moines Menace.
- TICKETS: Buy now at Ticketmaster.com or Sporting Park Box Offices
But how well do you know the opponent? Find out more below as Sporting Kansas City begins their defense of the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship.
- The Menace were founded in 1994 and are currently competing in their 20th season this year.
- The team plays in the Premier Development League, the highest level of amateur soccer in the U.S.
- The Menace are one of four PDL teams remaining in the tournament, along with Sporting KC's pre-season hosts FC Tucson.
- Des Moines defeated the Madison 56ers 1-0 in the first round of the tournament before eliminating Minnesota United FC with a 1-0 victory last night.
- Des Moines are making their fourth straight appearance in the U.S. Open Cup in 2013.
- Sporting Kansas City and Des Moines have met on two previous occasions in the U.S. Open Cup. In 2005, Kansas City recorded a 6-1 victory in the Round of 16 before meeting again a year later with KC advancing with a 2-1 win in the Round of 32. Those two games mark the team's only competitive matches against an MLS team in club history.
- Tuesday's match at Sporting Park will be the Menace's first match in an MLS venue in club history.
- Des Moines is 10-7 all-time in the U.S. Open Cup, including a 6-5 mark against professional teams and a 4-3 record in road matches.
- Head coach Mike Jeffries is in his first season with the club. Jeffries is the former manager of FC Dallas (2001-2003) and won two Open Cup titles while an assistant with the Chicago Fire (1998, 2000). Prior to joining Des Moines, Jeffries was a scout for the U.S. Men's National Team under Bob Bradley. As a player, he was the 1993 NCAA Player of the Year at Duke and made three appearances for the U.S. Men's National Team.
- Speaking about the chance for Des Moines' amateur players to take on Sporting Kansas City's professionals, Jeffries told the Des Moines Register: “They’re young, and you have some games that mean a lot and provide opportunities to do things that are new and unique for them, and this is one of those games."
- Upon taking the job, Jeffries said: "Making a run in the Open Cup and trying to get to the third round or more where we get an opportunity to play teams at higher levels is going to be very important.”
- Defender Brandon Fricke serves as the Des Moines Menace captain and is a former member of the Sporting KC Academy, playing for the U18's as recently as 2010. He scored the game-winning goal in the 86th minute of the team's second-round win on Tuesday.
- Goalkeeper Scott Angevine has earned shutouts in each of the team's first two U.S. Open Cup matches. He was an MLS League Pool Goalkeeper in 2012 based with Sporting KC and he participated in Sporting KC's 2012 and 2013 pre-seasons. He is a Kansas City native (Blue Valley Northwest alum) and former member of the Kansas City Brass.
- Twenty-four of the 32 players announced on the Menace roster have NCAA Division I experience.
- Des Moines will play at the St. Louis Lions in PDL play at 5 p.m. CT on Saturday, May 25 before coming to Kansas City for the Open Cup match-up.