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26 June 10:03 am

Our second Kevin Gray Awards Spotlight of the week features 2012 Kevin Gray Adult Player of the Year, Adrianna “AD” Franch. Originally from Salina, Kansas and a South High School graduate, AD boasted an impressive soccer background even before moving on to college and becoming a professional not long after. During her high school career, AD was a three-year member of the Kansas Olympic Development Program and earned All-State, All-Southwest Region and All-League honors as the starting goalie for the Cougars.

Franch, who as a child used to be called the “next Bri Scurry," then went on to become one of the most decorated players in Big 12 soccer history. Starting for Oklahoma State University all four years, Franch helped the Cowgirls secure back-to-back Big 12 Championships in 2009 and 2010. On an individual level, AD was named to the All-Big 12 Conference First Team four times, was a three-time All-American and currently holds the Oklahoma State career record for shutouts with 38 -- a number that ranks sixth all time in NCAA history.

Thanks to these remarkable statistics, AD immediately began getting looks from the U.S. Women’s National Team coaches. In 2010, her sophomore year, she was called up to the U-20 squad to compete at the World Cup in Germany and in 2012, she played on the U-23 team that won the Three Nations Tournament in Norway. Later that same year, Franch was invited to train with the senior U.S. WNT in preparation for the 2012 Olympics in London. Balancing national team duties with her responsibilities as a leader on the Oklahoma State women’s team was not easy, AD remarked, but all of her efforts proved to be worthwhile as Franch was drafted into the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in January 2013 by the Western New York Flash. She was the sixth pick overall and the first goalkeeper selected by any team.

“Knowing that I achieved one of my biggest dreams and being able to say that I am professional soccer player was [one of] my proudest accomplishments,” AD said of the moment.

Just a few short months later, Franch made her professional debut for the Flash, making eight saves in the game and earning Player of the Week honors from Equalizer Soccer. After the match, Western New York head coach Aaran Lines said, “I see the future national team goalkeeper of the U.S.”

From there, AD’s success only continued. At the end of her rookie season, Franch was both a regular season titleholder and had also been named to the NWSL Second XI. Unfortunately, in March 2014, Franch suffered a torn right ACL during the first week of preseason and was forced to miss the entire 2014 season.

Following an 18-month recovery period and break from competition, Franch has recently signed with Norwegian Toppserien club Avaldsnes IL, officially leaving the Western New York Flash. According to AD, many emotions accompanied her long-awaited return to professional play.

“I was excited to get back, proud of the work put in to come back, and had a sense of relief to finally be back,” she told us.

Long term, Franch intends to continue pursuing further soccer success and says that “watching the World Cup makes me excited and motivated to keep making strides for the next one [in 2019].”

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for our last Kevin Gray Awards Spotlight on Notre Dame grad and Portland Timbers rookie Nick Besler! To stay up to date on all things Sporting Club Network, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

25 June 5:06 pm

This past Tuesday, June 23, the Sporting Club Network and FC Kansas City teamed up to host an All Girls Mini Clinic at the Swope Soccer Village, the home training grounds of Sporting Kansas City and FC Kansas City. The event was a tremendous success as close to 100 girls, ages 6 to 13, attended the clinic, which was free of charge to both SCN members as well as players for clubs in partnership with FCKC.

After splitting into smaller groups based on age and skill level, the players rotated through six different stations during the hour-and-a-half session. Activities included drills focused on passing, dribbling, shooting, and foot skills, followed by a question-and-answer session that afforded the girls an opportunity to ask professional players whatever questions may have come to mind, soccer-related or otherwise.

On field, the Sporting Club Network coaches were joined by Sporting KC players Servando Carrasco and Jalil Anibaba, and FC Kansas City stars Erika Tymrak and Leigh Ann Robinson, each of whom did a great job imparting beneficial instruction and advice whenever possible. Lastly, once the rotation through each station was completed, participants lined up for autographs from and photos with Carrasco, Anibaba, Tymrak, and Robinson.

On a basic level, the host organizations—SCN and FCKC—planned this exclusive clinic with the intention of its coinciding with a much larger celebration of women’s sports. More specifically, it was no coincidence that the date of the mini clinic fell on the 43rd anniversary of Title IX, the law passed in 1972 that prohibits financial discrimination based on gender in education activities that receive Federal financial assistance. In other words, Title IX ensures that women are given the same, equal opportunities as men when it comes to college sports and scholarships.

What’s also interesting about the timing of this event is that it overlaps with the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada. The US Women’s National Team, complete with 4 FC Kansas City players on its roster, has advanced to the quarterfinals of the tournament and takes on China at 6:30pm on Friday night in Ottawa. Plenty of Tuesday’s mini clinic participants indicated their interest in this year’s World Cup, so we’re glad we were able to supplement that fandom with some real soccer instruction.

Thank you to all who helped make the All Girls Mini Clinic a great success! Click here to check out the photo album. The Sporting Club Network looks forward to putting on more events like this one in the future, so be sure to stay tuned on Facebook and on our website for the links to register.

If your club or organization is interested in joining the Sporting Club Network to gain access to these exclusive events, please contact Alex Firchau at afirchau@SportingKC.com.

25 June 3:04 pm

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes joined The Program with Soren Petro on Sports Radio 810 WHB today to discuss the team's late 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake last weekend, as well a variety of other timely topics that included the play of goalkeeper Tim Melia, the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the use of instant replay in professional soccer. Listen to the ful 25-minutel interview embedded below.

Vermes is one win shy of tying Thomas Rongen (83) for ninth on the list of winningest coaches in MLS history. His next opportunity comes at 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday at Sporting Park when Sporting KC hosts the Colorado Rapids.

Vermes played three seasons for each team (1997-1999 in Colorado, 2000-2002 in KC) during a seven-year MLS career. Now in his seventh season as Sporting KC's head coach, Vermes is 5-0-5 in MLS competition against the Rapids.

Twenty-five years ago this month, Vermes represented the United States at the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy and appeared in all three group stage matches. He also played for the U.S. at the Summer Olympics (1988), FIFA Futsal World Cup (1989) and Confederations Cup (1992). He was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2013.

24 June 2:50 pm

The annual Kevin Gray Awards, presented by Pepsi and co-sponsored by Sporting Kansas City and Global Sports International, recognize the achievements of soccer players and coaches in the Kansas City area. Each year, as the event quickly approaches, we at Sporting Kansas City enjoy catching up with a few of the past winners and featuring them in blog posts that are released in the days leading up to the show. Welcome to this year’s first Kevin Gray Awards Spotlight! Today, we highlight the 2011 Kevin Gray Female Youth Player of the Year, Caroline Gray.

Gray, a St. Teresa’s Academy alumna and recent 2015 University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate, had no difficulty continuing her soccer success in college after receiving the award following her last season at STA. During her freshman year at UNL, Gray started all 18 games for the Huskers and scored her first career goal at Penn State on October 14, 2011. In her sophomore season, she, again, played in every single match and added two goals and six assists to her increasingly impressive stat sheet. Gray’s third year at UNL proved to be, arguably, the most eventful. Maintaining the trend established by her performance in the two years prior, Gray started all 24 games for the Huskers in 2013 and provided leadership en route to Nebraska’s first-ever Big 10 Tournament Championship. According to Gray, that year’s regular season and postseason titles serve as two of the proudest achievements of her entire soccer career. Finally, in Gray’s senior season, she started all 19 matches, averaged 87 minutes per match, and earned Big 10 Player of the Week honors in November 2014 for scoring the game-winning goal against Iowa in the final game of the season. After adding this recognition to the long list of individual honors she had managed to collect throughout her college soccer career, Gray went on to graduate as a 2-time member of the Tom Osborne Citizenship Team, with an Academic All-Big Ten award and 5 appearances on the Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll—effectively leaving her mark on the Nebraska women’s soccer program for years and years to come.

Reflecting upon her time at Nebraska, Caroline says she will miss most “the friendships [she] made with the girls on the team” as well as the opportunity she had to play in one of the best conferences in the country, an experience that she says “took her game to a whole other level.”

As the daughter of the late Kevin Gray—of whom these annual awards are held in honor—Caroline articulated how appreciative she feels not only because the awards were and are instituted in remembrance of her father, but also to have won the award for Female Youth Player of the Year in 2011 just a month after her dad’s passing. “It was the most amazing award I could have gotten,” Gray said, “and I just knew how proud he would have been.” Regarding Kevin Gray’s monumental impact on sports in the Kansas City area, Caroline recalls “his incredible drive to improve every aspect of sports in Kansas City, especially women’s sports” through his creation of the Women’s Intersport Network (WIN for KC). As for soccer, “he wasn’t the most knowledgeable,” Gray said, “but he loved to watch, regardless.”

This summer, Caroline is excited to have moved back to Kansas City full-time and plans to stay heavily involved in the growing sport of soccer while working at GSI Sports, one of the co-sponsors for the Kevin Gray Awards.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for our next Kevin Gray Awards Spotlight on Salina, Kansas native and USWNT prospect, AD Franch! And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter & Instagram, and like us on Facebook for all things Sporting Club Network!
 

24 June 9:00 am

Hardware is not exclusive to the Sporting KC first team and the Sporting KC Academy is ready to add another trophy of their own to the case.

The Sporting KC U-14s will square off against Des Moines Menace Red at 10 a.m. CT in the US Youth Soccer Region II U-15 championship in Fox Cities, Wis. The match will be broadcast free in high definition.

The Sporting KC Academy U-14's are looking to defend their title after winning the US Youth Soccer Region II Championship in 2014. The winner of today's match will punch their ticket to the 2015 US Youth Soccer National Championships in Tulsa, Okla.

23 June 4:26 pm

Created with flickr slideshow.

 

This weekend, thousands of Kansas Citians flocked to the West Bottoms to spend time enjoying live music, beer and food during the second-annual Boulevardia beer festival. During the three-day event local charities managed each of the bars within the festival borders to gain brand awareness and raise funds for their respective organizations. With the help of nearly 70 volunteers, The Victory Project managed one of these bars located near the main stage.

To add to the excitement of the event, on Friday night attendees visiting The Victory Project Bar were served from some of their favorite Sporting KC players including Ike Opara, Kevin Ellis, Marcel de Jong, Roger Espinoza and Jon Kempin. 

In exchange for their hard work, The Victory Project will receive a percentage of beer sales and all tips made from the bar.

Boulevardia, which recently celebrated its second year in the Historic West Bottoms, is a beer festival founded by the Boulevard Brewing Company. The festival showcased a wide selection of various Boulevard brews, a family carnival, various food trucks, and a Makers Market for the craft enthusiasts. Bands selected by 96.5 The Buzz and Kansas City’s local performance group Quixotic provided the entertainment.

To find out more about the Victory Project or to make a donation please visit VictoryKC.org or follow @VictoryKC on Twitter or @victoryprojectkc on Instagram.

23 June 1:08 pm

Sporting KC Doppelgangers have returned, but this time, with a twist! As it is hard to match the looks of our really, really, really, ridiculously good-looking players and coaching staff, we figured some simple addition might make it a little easier. We found a few images that contained certain characteristics of a Sporting KC player and added them together to make a doppelganger!

Let us know which look-alike is your favorite or send us your own doppelgangers on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #SKCLookAlikes for a chance to win a pair of tickets to Saturday's match against the Colorado Rapids at 7:30 p.m. CT!

GOALKEEPER:   

David Duchovny

+

Ben Foster

=

Tim Melia

DEFENDERS:   

Jeremy Piven

+

Zach Gilford

=

 Matt Besler

Zorro

+

Hansel

=

Chance Myers

Chris Andersen

+

Wilson

=

Marcel de Jong

 

Tiger Woods

+

Lil Bow Wow

=

Saad Abdul-Salaam

 

MIDFIELDERS:

Paul Rudd

+

Freddie Mercury

=

Benny Feilhaber

  Robinho            

 
+

 Mr. Dalvin from Jodeci

=

Soni Mustivar

        

Roger Espinoza

=

Patrick Star

 
FORWARDS:
 

Alan Cumming

 
+

 

A Tanning Bed

=

Krisztian Nemeth

Oscar

+

Josh Brolin

=

Bernardo Añor

Michael Ealy

+

Neymar

=

Dom Dwyer

The Coaching Staff:

Ben Affleck

+

 R. Lee Emrey

=

 

Peter Vermes

Derek Zoolander

+

 Rob Lowe

=

Kerry Zavagnin

 Jonathan Banks

+

Ernst Stavro Blofeld

=

Zoran Savic

 

 

22 June 12:02 pm

This week’s Sporting Spotlight showcases Kerry Zavagnin, the team’s former midfield anchor and current assistant coach. KMCI-TV 38 the Spot host Crystle Lampitt met up with Zavagnin to learn more about his soccer journey culminating in Kansas City.

Zavagnin, who has played and coached for Kansas City since 2000, reveals how he made his way to MLS and solidified his place during an 11-year playing career. Tune in every Monday morning for the newest Sporting Spotlight on 38 The Spot or check out their YouTube playlist to catch up on previous segments.

21 June 10:06 pm

Sporting KC forward Dom Dwyer scores his fifth goal of the regular season in the 30th minute (assisted by Benny Feilhaber) to level the match at Rio Tinto Stadium against Real Salt Lake.

19 June 10:25 pm


Clockwise from top left: @alexis17quevedo, @k8e_jay, @greghill5280, @mrmortensen

Four causes for cheer this Father's Day:

  1. #RSLvSKC in the MLS Soccer Sunday doubleheader
  2. 20% off the entire Sporting Style men's department
  3. A chance to win a $250 gift card to MLSstore.com
  4. Boulevardia Day 3, featuring craft spirits and cocktails 

Need we say more? Well...

Sporting KC and Real Salt Lake kick off their 2013 MLS Cup rematch at 9 p.m. CT on FOX Sports 1. It's been 16 years since the team took the field on Father's Day in a 6-0 romp over New York at Arrowhead Stadium back in 1999. Might the team's newest dad, Benny Feilhaber, play a starring role on Sunday? His seven assists are second most in MLS to go along with goals in three of his last four MLS matches.

In celebration of the holiday, Sporting Style is offering 20% off all men's items at Shop.SportingKC.com through Sunday. As always, free shipping is available on orders over $50 and every purchase is eligible for free returns. Perhaps the newest t-shirt from the Sporting KC and Boulevard Brewing Co. collaboration would make a nice addition to his wardrobe?

Speaking of Boulevard, they're throwing a party in the West Bottoms this weekend that is right up dad's alley. Sporting KC is a proud supporter of Boulevardia, a three-day festival that brings together the best in music, food and beer. Don't miss Sunday's schedule of events from 11am-5pm headlined by musical acts across three stages and the one-day only "Craft Spirits & Cocktails" special experience.

Finally, Major League Soccer is getting the Father's Day fun started early with their annual social media contest. One lucky fan will win a $250 gift card to MLSstore.com and all you have to do to enter is post a pic of you and your pops wearing Sporting KC gear to Twitter or Instagram by 11 p.m. CT on Saturday. Be sure to include @MLS and the hashtag #MLSdad to make your entry official.

Good luck and a happy Father's Day from our Sporting KC family to yours!