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19 July 7:32 pm

Cast your vote below for the Man of the Match from Sporting Kansas City's 2-1 win over the LA Galaxy on Saturday at Sporting Park. Voting is open through Sunday evening.

18 July 9:27 pm

It's been less than three weeks since Sporting KC defender Matt Besler and Graham Zusi returned to the United States, following the USMNT's successful run at the World Cup that saw them advance out of the "Group of Death" into the Round of 16.

Upon returning to the States, Besler flew directly to New York to do a series of TV/radio interviews that included SportsCenter, Good Morning America and CBS This Morning.  Zusi returned to Kansas City and came off the bench in Sporting KC's 1-1 draw vs. the Chicago Fire before starting a 2-1 win over the Montreal Impact the following weekend. Besler joined Zusi for the match against Montreal and capped off a six-point road trip with a start in Sporting KC's 2-1 win over the Columbus Crew last Wednesday. 

MLS Insider, a collaboration between Major League Soccer and the emmy-award winning Hock Films, chronicled Besler and Zusi's return to the States - and to Sporting KC - along with their USMNT teammates across MLS.

18 July 11:07 am

The final installment of our Kevin Gray Awards Spotlight features the pride of Kansas City, Matt Besler. Besler's standout performances on and off the field make him the perfect candidate for a Kevin Gray Award. Drafted by Kansas City in 2009, Besler hit the ground running and saw a steady rise in form until 2011, when his career took off after being named 2011 Kevin Gray Awards Adult Player of the Year, presented by Pepsi.

"It's a great honor and one that I felt a lot of pride in accepting," Besler said of receiving the award. "Kansas City has always been a place that has many talented athletes. I'm grateful to be amongst such great company with the previous Kevin Gray Award winners."

Since winning his first Kevin Gray Award in 2011 and second in 2013, Besler has thrived in both domestic and international competition. Here are some highlights from his ever-growing list of accomplishments:

USMNT:

  • Debuted for the US Men’s National Team on Jan. 29, 2013
  • Started 20 games out of 21 games played for USMNT
  • Totaled 1,683 minutes in 2013 and 2014
  • Started all four games at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, totaling 345 minutes, and is the first player from the state of Kansas to play in a World Cup

2014 MLS

  • Captain of Sporting Kansas City
  • 2014 Kansas City Sportsman of the Year

2013 MLS

  • MLS All-Star Selection
  • Sporting Kansas City Defensive Player of the Year
  • Selection to the MLS Best XI
  • Helped the defensive unit earn 13 shutouts

2012 MLS

  • MLS Defender of the Year
  • MLS Breakout Player of the Year
  • Selection to the MLS Best XI
  • Sporting Kansas City Defensive Player of the Year
  • Registered two game-winning assists
  • Converted PK to help Sporting Kansas City win the U. S. Open Cup

2011 MLS

  • MLS All-Star Selection

Besler's impressive accolades leave no room for doubt of his superiority on the field. However, something that not everyone knows about the Overland Park, Kansas native is the strength of his passion for giving back to the community. Besler spends countless hours of his time making guest appearances at Sporting Club Network events throughout the year, as well as events for programs like the Victory Project.

"Two of my favorite opportunities to give back to the community are participating in youth clinics around the Kansas City area and also visiting with kids in local hospitals during their treatments and recoveries," Besler said. "The Kansas City community has embraced our team and it's always rewarding for us to be able to return the support."

Besler offers the perfect triple threat: a hometown hero, a champion on the field and in the community, and an inspiration to young soccer players in the Kansas City area. We hope that the excitement Besler has brought to the Soccer Capital of America will rise just as exponentially as his soccer career has since being named Kevin Gray Awards Adult Player of the Year.

For all things Sporting Club Network, be sure to follow us on twitter, @SportingKC_SCN, and like us on Facebook!

17 July 6:15 pm

Entering Wednesday night's match, 26 players had started an MLS match for Sporting KC in 2014. That number is now 27, after Mikey Lopez made his MLS debut in the 2-1 win over the Columbus Crew.

Sporting KC drafted Lopez with the No. 14 overall selection in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. Lopez featured for the U.S. U-20 Men's National Team at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup before making his Sporting KC debut against the Des Moince Menace in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup third round match on May 26.

The Texas native started and played 64 minutes in last night's debut, tallying two shots in the match.

Lopez has spent the majority of 2014 on loan to Sporting KC's USL Pro affiliates, appearing in 14 games with Orlando City SC and OKC Energy FC. The 21-year-old midfielder scored his first professional goal for Energy FC in a 2-0 win over Sacramento Republic on June 28.

17 July 5:42 pm

Sporting Kansas City returns to Sporting Park to host the LA Galaxy following a very successful two-match road trip. Both teams are in great forms with two consecutive victories and at or near the top of their respective conference standings. What will be the key players, factors, and match-ups for the game?

Check out the video below as MLSsoccer.com's Nick Firchau and Matt Doyle break it down.

17 July 10:56 am

The Sporting KC Show will air live from 7-8 p.m. CT tonight at Jazz at The Legends (1859 Village West Parkway, Suite 102) with special guest Graham Zusi joining hosts Callum Williams and Andy Edwards on Sports Radio 810 WHB.

Zusi was named to his third MLS All-Star team last night, fishing as one of the top midfielders in the vote for the MLS All-Star Fan XI. The 27-year-old winger appeared in four matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, tallying assits in a 2-1 win over Ghana and a 2-2 draw vs. Portugal.

Zusi will discuss the USMNT's recent performance at the World Cup, Sporting KC's busy schedule ahead as well as the club's upcoming match against the LA Galaxy. Sporting KC will host the Galaxy in a nationally-televised match Saturday afternoon at Sporting Park. The match will kick off at 5 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and the WatchESPN app. Limited tickets are available and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com or by calling 888-4KC-GOAL.

Can't make it to Jazz for tonight's show? Listen live on 810 AM, 810whb.com or via the station's free mobile app and join the discussion by calling 913-3-810-810.

16 July 9:15 pm

Cast your vote below for the Man of the Match from Sporting Kansas City's 2-1 win at the Columbus Crew on Wednesday night. Voting is open through Thursday evening.

16 July 10:50 am

The Kevin Gray Awards, presented by Pepsi, are presented annually to soccer players in the Kansas City area for outstanding performances in a single season. Many Gatorade Player of the Year winners and First Team All-State selections have earned Kevin Gray Award honors. However, it is a unique occurrence that we have the pleasure of bestowing this award upon a player whose performance on the field can truly be matched by his performance off the field.

Derek Schrick, the 2012 Kevin Gray Awards Youth Male Player of the Year and a product of the Sporting KC Development Academy, is one such player. During a calendar year, Schrick will work 10 soccer camps around the Kansas City area. He primarily assists at Sporting KC and Rockhurst High School, but will also work camps for UMKC.

Schrick's coaching camp travels take him as far as Sedalia, Missouri, but he still finds a way to make it look easy. “Not only do I try to teach kids new skills in soccer, I always try to make their experience as enjoyable and positive as I can," Schrick said. "Balancing playing, school, and giving back is a challenge, but it can be done with hard work.”

In addition to coaching camps, Schrick gives up more of his time to volunteer with Special Olympics of Kansas City, as well as a program called the UMKC Bags of Fun Soccer Camp, which raises money to buy toys for children in hospitals.

Schrick was named the 2012 Kevin Gray Awards Youth Male Player of the Year after his senior year at Rockhurst High School, where he was named Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year, one of the highest honors a high school athlete can earn. Going into his freshman season at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Schrick was ranked #66 in an ESPN Rise poll and was a Top Drawer Soccer four-star recruit. Schrick played in 16 games for the Mustangs and registered his first point by delivering a game-winning assist in overtime against Harvard. After his freshman season, he transferred closer to home and joined UMKC. Schrick began what will surely be an exceptional career by scoring in the first game of the 2013 season against Wisconsin.

Schrick’s strong performance on the field and commitment to giving back makes him the ideal selection for a Kevin Gray Awards Player of the Year. Look out for him in the future -- if his passion for giving back to the sport continues, there may be an award named after him some day.

Check back on Wednesday to read about our next Kevin Gray Awards Spotlight, Matt Besler! And for all things Sporting Club Network, be sure to follow us on twitter, @SportingKC_SCN, and like us on Facebook!