Sporting Kansas City supporters filled the Charles Wheeler Downtown Airport on Tuesday night as Sporting Takeoff, presented by Ivy Funds, took over Hangar 1. The team's brand new secondary jerseys were unveiled -- and are now available to buy at shop.sportingkc.com while supplies last -- and Matt Besler was introduced as the 2014 team captain.
The Victory Project held a silent auction to raise funds in its mission to help children thrive through challenges, Recycle Your Game collected gently used soccer equipment donations and a handful of fans walked away with once-in-a-lifetime prizes, including a day with the MLS Cup trophy and authentic MLS Cup champions medallions.
Check out all the sights and sounds in the photo slideshow above, as well as the video features below:
Sporting KC unveils new secondary kit
Matt Besler named captain
Peter Vermes addresses the fans
This past year, Special Olympics Kansas created the Kansas Unified Soccer League, which allows students with disabilities to participate in soccer competition with their general education peers. It provides an opportunity for a variety of students and skill levels to come together and interact while playing a sport they love. During the first ever Kansas Unified Soccer League's Tournament Championship match, Sporting Kansas City defender Seth Sinovic made a special appearance and explained the importance of this type of an environment and all of its benefits.
Special Olympics Kansas partnered with Sporting Kansas City through the Sporting Club Network in 2013. Special Olympics Kansas is dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, productive and respected members of society through sports competitions, health and nutrition programs and leadership development. The Kansas Unified Soccer League of Special Olympics Kansas will continue this spring and is encouraging local high schools to form teams for their upcoming season.
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As the teams of SKC Nation prepare to do battle on the soccer field during the inaugural Truce Tournament this coming Thursday, the National World War I Museum has opened their doors to educate every one on the story behind this event – the Christmas Truce.
Come out to the museum this Sunday, December 22nd at 2pm for a special screening of the 2005 Oscar-nominated film Joyeux Noël in J.C. Nichols Auditorium. The French film recreates the events of the 1914 Christmas Truce , focusing on a section of the Western Front where French, Scottish and German soldiers put down their arms to celebrate a moment of peace in a time of war. This event is entirely free to the public.
Besides the film showing, you still have your chance to take part in The Truce, even if you aren’t one of the lucky teams participating. Inside the museum during The Truce, fans can join in on our EPL Watch Party, which will include complimentary breakfast and Boulevard beer for all attendees. Simply visit www.TheTruce.splashthat.com to order your EPL Watch Party ticket while they still last!
MLS Cup 2013 has been the talk of sports radio in Kansas City leading up to tomorrow's championship match at Sporting Park between Sporting KC and Real Salt Lake. Sports Radio 810 WHB -- the team's official radio partner -- aired a two-hour special edition of The Sporting KC Show on Tuesday and will continue their extensive coverage today as The Program with Soren Petro goes live at the Boulevard Members Club from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. CT during Road to Brazil. Immediately afterward, The Program with Kevin Kietzman will air from 2-6 p.m. CT live at Johnny's Tavern in the KC Power & Light District leading up to MLS Cup Last Night Out featuring Portugal. The Man.
Check out the audio clips below from interviews throughout the week on local sports radio...
Peter Vermes on Between the Lines (Sports Radio 810 WHB)
Jimmy Nielsen on The Drive (610 Sport Radio)
Matt Besler on The Border Patrol (Sports Radio 810 WHB)
Seth Sinovic on Fescoe in the Morning (610 Sports Radio)
Adrian Healey on The Border Patrol (Sports Radio 810 WHB)
This is a wonderful time for Sporting Kansas City. I couldn't be happier for all the amazing people I get to work with every day on something so incredible. I'm so thankful for the commitment the Patterson's, Illig's, Maday's and Curran's have made towards making Kansas City the Soccer Capital of America when it was so far from that in 2006.
I really want to thank our guys and their incredible leader, Peter. This year has been such a unique challenge with all the ups and downs, all the games missed due to call-ups, the events leading up to and culminating in the All-Star Game, plus all the things that could have prevented the boys from doing exactly what they've done: taking us for a ride I doubt many will forget.
But let's get to it...You are the most amazing fans in the country. What you've done to transform this team, this sport, this community is nothing short of epic. It's the greatest fan turnaround in the history of sports. Someone disagree? If you can show me another example where crowds of 2,000 became 24-minute 22,000 person sell-outs, I'm all ears.
And that's just it...no matter how far we’ve come, how much we’ve achieved together, how much the rest of the League admires what you’ve become – I have to ask you for one more thing. Nobody has the capability to carry a team to the end like you can. It's going to be cold. It's going to be such a tight game. It's likely going to be uncomfortable at times. But I've had players on this team tell me they've never experienced the emotion they have when Sporting Park is in full voice; players that have played in some of the greatest stadia of the world. So this is your chance to finish what we all started with a championship for this City, for this Club, for all of us.
In 20 years, we all should be able to close our eyes and remember this Saturday afternoon - still feel the emotion, relive the energy, hear again the songs that will be sung and still take joy in the experience of this one match... SKC Nation: let’s leave it all out there.
See you at the end.....
MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Sporting Kansas City players were in attendance today at the Ronald McDonald House in Kansas City, MO to unveil a major makeover as part of MLS Cup Week 2013. Major League Soccer’s community service initiative, MLS WORKS, and Sporting Kansas City through The Victory Project came together ahead of MLS Cup 2013 to renovate the lower level family rooms at the local Ronald McDonald House over the past 10 days.
The basement was transformed by local TV celebrity and season three winner of HGTV's Design Star Jennifer Bertrand to benefit children and families who will stay in the Ronald McDonald House during treatments at Kansas City area hospitals. The Sporting Kansas City-themed rooms include great items for all ages including a specially made foosball table featuring the team’s players.
Check out the video above and photos below from today's commemoration ceremony.
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.