Sporting Kansas City
What do soccer and racing have in common?
Speed, reaction time and Continental Tire.
Continental Tire gave six MLS standouts an opportunity to win a 2014 Lamborghini. A task easier said than done, so we called in a specialist: TUDOR United SportsCar Championship driver Townsend Bell, who was able to provide insight for the soccer standouts to help ease the transition from the pitch to the pedal. The six participants were split between the Eastern and Western Conference to emulate the MLS regular season. The athlete with the fastest time on each side of the bracket would advance to the championship.
Sporting KC winger Graham Zusi was joined by Sean Johnson and Giles Barnes to represent the East. Chandler Hoffman, Stephen Keel and Dan Kennedy were seleceted to represent the West. We all know and love Zusi for his quickness with a soccer ball at his feet, but let's see how he does with a steering wheel in hand...
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images
Top of the list. That's where Sporting Park lands in Stadium Journey magazine's evaluation of the best stadium experiences in Major League Soccer.
Released earlier today, the rankings are based on the following factors: food/beverage, atmosphere, location, fans, access and overall return on investment. Stadium Journey correspondent Cory Sims reviewed the state-of-the-art stadium earlier this year, writing that it is "one of the best venues to watch a sporting event of any kind."
Sporting Kansas City's home field earned the No. 1 spot over a trio of Cascadia challengers. Providence Park (Portland Timbers), CenturyLink Field (Seattle Sounders) and BC Place (Vancouver Whitecaps) rounded out the top four.
We've all seen Graham Zusi's skills on the soccer field. The MLS All-Star has a lethal right foot and a speed burst that would give Barry Allen whiplash. Don't believe us? Check out Major League Soccer's Superheroes series from this past Summer.
Now, the World Cup veteran will move from the soccer field to the race track to test his skills behind a Lamborghini.
Zusi is in a competition with five other MLS players in the series What'Cha Got, presented by Continental Tires. Three players from the Eastern Conference and three from the Western Conference are competing to see who can drive a Lamborghini the fastest around a race track. The driver with the quickest time gets the car.
Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson currently leads the East with a time of 40.44. If Zusi beats Johnson, he'll advance to the finals against the LA Galaxy's Chandler Hoffman (41.81).
Zusi's episode will debut on ESPNFC Sunday night at 11 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
Looking for another reason to tune in to Sunday's episode? The folks at What'Cha Got have a signed Zusi jersey they'll be giving away to one lucky winner! To enter into the contest, tweet out Zusi's final race time using #WhatChaGotMLS. One correct contestant will be chosen to win the prize.
So what do you think? Will Zusi beat Johnson to advance to the finals? Let us know in the comments section below!
The road to College Cup officially kicks off later today as 32 of the 48 teams in the 2014 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship begin play. But the journey for seven Sporting Kansas City Academy alums has been years in the making since their days on the Swope Soccer Village fields.
Take, for example, University of Denver freshman forward Cole Stevenson. The Leawood, Kansas native and Rockhurst High School graduate has one goal and two assists in 18 appearances this season for the Pioneers, who won their second straight Summit League championship. Stevenson can be seen below as a member of the Kansas City Wizards Juniors during the 2009/10 season - the first in which the club's U16 and U18 squads competed in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
In fact, tomorrow will mark the five-year anniversary of the club's inaugural Development Academy matches. The U16's (1-0) and U18's (3-2) won both games of a doubleheader against Texas Rush at Bear Branch Soccer Complex in Woodlands, Texas.
Games to watch in the NCAA tournament (updated with scores):
- Saint Louis University (Raymond Lee) 2, University of Tulsa 0 | FINAL
- University of North Carolina (Zach Wright, Andy Lopez) 6, James Madison University 0 | FINAL
- Wake Forest University (Heath Honold) 0, University of Maryland, Baltimore County 0 (UMBC advances 3-2 on PK's) | FINAL
- University of Denver (Cole Stevenson) 0, Oregon State University 1 | FINAL
- Fordham University (Matt Lewis) 1, Dartmouth College 2 | FINAL
- Creighton University (Eric DeJulio) vs. Oregon State University | 12:30 p.m. CT on Sunday
The Sporting Club Network and member club Kansas City Kansas Soccer Association hosted a clinic last month for youth players in Kansas City, Kansas. Thanks to the support of Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Network had the opportunity to work with players of all ages and skill levels in the club and surrounding community.
Not only did the participants learn a variety of tactical and technical ideas, they also received instruction on proper nutrition. Sporting Kansas City head fitness coach Mateus Manoel spoke to the group on how to recognize healthy meal options for growing athletes.
At the conclusion of the clinic, the young players had the chance to meet, take photos with and get some autographs from Sporting Kansas City players Christian Duke, Ike Opara and Aurelien Collin.
Who can resist Chipotle and soccer? Our point exactly!
The Sporting Kansas City Academy has teamed up with Chipotle to raise money for the 2014-15 season. Sporting KC fans are encouraged to join Academy midfielder and Chipotle Youth Homegrown athlete winner Roman Knox at the Chipotle on 135th & Metcalf in Overland Park, Kansas on Monday, November 17 from 4-9 p.m. CT. Chipotle will donate 50% of proceeds to the Sporting KC Academy when customers show the cashier this flyer.
Bring your friends. Let's make this a party.
The Sporting KC Academy program has proven valuable in recent years for Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes, who has added talent to his senior roster with the homegrown signings of Kevin Ellis, Jon Kempin and Erik Palmer-Brown. Ellis was consistently seen in the starting lineup for Sporting KC this season, appearing in 20 MLS matches, while Kempin and Palmer-Brown made their MLS debuts. The 21-year-old goalkeeper earned MLS Save of the Week honors in his first two appearances for Sporting Kansas City and 17-year-old Palmer-Brown was the youngest player to appear in an MLS match this season.
On this day dedicated to those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, we celebrate the many military members and their families who have been honored at Sporting Park in 2014. These 18 individuals -- each with local ties and longstanding duty -- represent all branches and ranks as a small fraction of the millions of Americans who who have enlisted to protect their country.
Click on the photos below to read more about each honoree, recognized through Salute To Troops presented by Park University.
Thank you to all of those who truly #DefendTogether. A closing message from Sporting Kansas City homegrown defender Kevin Ellis, who hosted a barbecue and soccer clinic for military families earlier this year...
— Kevin Ellis (@Kev_Ellis4) November 11, 2014
Crystle Lampitt, host of 38 The Spot, interviewed Sporting KC's Matt Besler and Graham Zusi to wrap up the 2014 season. Lampitt explores the origin of both players soccer carreers and their major milestones along the way to stardom for club and country.
View the full interview, which aired this morning on KC Live, below:
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Martin Steuble started and played the full 90 minutes for the Philippines on Sunday in a 3-0 loss at Thailand. The international friendly was played in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand as both teams prepare for the 2014 Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup later this month. Thailand received goals from Mongkol Thosakrai (30'), Prakit Deeprom (54') and Kroekrit Thawikan (74').
Steuble also started in the Philippines last match -- a 3-0 win versus Nepal on Oct. 31 -- and now has 11 caps since making his international debut earlier this year. The Philippines are led by former U.S. Men's National Team defender Thomas Dooley and are No. 129 in the latest FIFA rankings.
The 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup begins Nov. 22 with Philippines in Group A, which also includes Vietnam, Indonesia and Laos. The eight-team tournament is co-hosted by Singapore and Vietnam.
Steuble, 26, is one of seven Sporting KC players to feature in international matches in 2014 along with Matt Besler (USA), Graham Zusi (USA), Lawrence Olum (Kenya), Jorge Claros (Honduras), Soony Saad (Lebanon) and Erik Palmer Brown (USA U-20).
The final Sporting KC Show of 2014 aired last night on Sports Radio 810 WHB with hosts Callum Williams and Carter Augustine wrapping up a season that stretched 43 games from March thru October. The 45-minute podcast is embedded below and features interviews with Sporting Kansas City defender Seth Sinovic and assistant coach John Pascarella.
Pascarella, who joined the club's technical staff prior to the 2009 season, shared his thoughts on the busy offseason ahead and the experience Sporting KC gained from the adversity faced in 2014.
On how he will spend the coming weeks...
A lot of combines, a lot of watching videos, a lot of preparing for the different drafts that are coming up. Whether it's the dispersal draft with the players from Chivas USA coming out or the different re-entry drafts with the free agents and especially, one of my big areas of focus, is the college draft. We have two first round picks this year, so we're hoping to make those count and continue to get some good players through the MLS draft. And then it's evaluating what happened over this past year. Every year brings obstacles. Every year brings its adversity. We had some adversity over the last few years. But it's a little bit different than the type of adversity that we encountered this year.
On how 2014 differed from previous seasons...
The adversity we faced a couple of years ago was one in which we were climbing and we were almost there but we didn't quite reach the summit. So we got knocked down a peg. And then we had to do it again and we got knocked down a peg. Then we had to do it again, so we were a team that were fairly experienced at that type of adversity. But then we turn around and we won it last year and the adversity we faced this year -- we had injuries in the other years, we had fixture congestion the other years -- but the adversity that I think was difficult for us to handle was being able to deal with being champions and everybody giving you their best game. Are you going to be competitive enough in every single match? Are you going to be able to deal with that type of adversity as the champion? In that respect, we weren't experienced at it. We are now because we've gone through a year of having been champions and gotten knocked off of our throne. But I think it's something from which we'll all learn from. The coaches will learn from it. I think the players will learn from it. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. From that perspective, I think it's going to be a great offseason and I think it's going to be a great preseason. I look forward to watching the team play next year.