Weekly Update: Dec. 19, 2012

All the latest news and notes from Sporting KC

Claudio Bieler - Press Conference 3

Photo Credit: 
Jamila St. Ann

Sporting KC signs Designated Player Claudio Bieler
Sporting KC home opener set for March 16 vs. Chicago Fire
Sporting KC wishes you happy holidays
Sporting KC Academy players train at national camp
Nixa Soccer Club joins Sporting Club Network
Support the U.S. Soccer Foundation Creating Chances campaign
2013 Disney Pro Soccer Classic schedule announced
Sporting Style launches new online store
Sporting KC announces 2013 pre-season destinations
Sporting KC now taking deposits for 2013 reserved seating
Follow Sporting KC online

SPORTING KC SIGNS DESIGNATED PLAYER CLAUDIO BIELER
Sporting Kansas City introduced 28-year-old forward Claudio Bieler as a Designated Player on Tuesday in a press conference held at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. He will be added to the club's roster pending receipt of his ITC and P-1 Visa, and will occupy a senior international roster spot.

Bieler, an Argentina native who holds dual citizenship in Ecuador, has scored 57 goals in 110 league games for LDU Quito in Ecuador's Serie A and his 71 goals in 155 games in all competition for the club are the most in team history. Sporting Kansas City and LDU Quito agreed to terms on an undisclosed transfer fee for the acquisition of Bieler.

Nicknamed "El Taca," Bieler was the second leading scorer in Ecuador this year with 20 goals in 34 games during the regular season. The campaign, which came to a close on Sunday, marked the third time in Bieler's four-year career with the club that he finished amongst the League's top three goal scorers.

SPORTING KC HOME OPENER SET FOR MARCH 16 VS. CHICAGO FIRE
Sporting Kansas City learned three games on its 2013 MLS schedule, including the team's first home match on March 16 against rivals Chicago Fire, as Major League Soccer announced the regular season home openers for each of its 19 clubs on Tuesday. Sporting KC will kick off the team's 18th season at the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, March 2 then travel to take on Toronto FC on Saturday, March 9.

Per the MLS announcement, times and broadcast information for these games will be revealed in the coming weeks as part of the complete 2013 regular season schedule. Each club will again play 34 games during the regular season.

Sporting Kansas City, first place finishers in the Eastern Conference each of the last two seasons, will begin their 2013 MLS campaign at PPL Park with the earliest regular season match in club history on March 2. Sporting Kansas City recorded a 2-0 victory in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinals in their last trip to the venue, which served as the site for the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game. Sporting KC boasts an MLS-best 11-4-2 record all-time in season openers and has suffered just one loss to start the season in the last 11 years.

One week later, Sporting Kansas City will travel north of the border to face Toronto on March 9. Sporting KC is 8-3-4 all-time against Toronto FC and currently have a seven-game unbeaten streak against their Canadian counterparts following three wins during the 2012 regular season.

SPORTING KC WISHES YOU HAPPY HOLIDAYS
Sporting Kansas City would like to wish all of their fans happy holidays with a special holiday video. Click here to watch and make sure you tweet at @MySKCFamily.

SPORTING KC ACADEMY PLAYERS TRAIN AT NATIONAL CAMP
Sporting Kansas City U14 Academy players Roman Knox and Patrick Wilkinson were among 52 players in their age group (born in 1999 or 2000) to be chosen for the recent boys id2 Program Training Camp in Casa Grande, Arizona. The camp was held at Grande Sports World and featured the top players from across the country for four days of high-level training and off-field sessions from Dec. 6-9.

The invitation-only event gave both players the opportunity to compete in front of U.S. Soccer National Team staff, as well as some of the nation's best coaches. In addition to the training and evaluation, the experience also included guest speakers and lectures/classroom sessions. Check out the photo slideshow above and video below for highlights from the camp.

This month's training marked the second time in 2012 that Knox and Wilkinson have been included in US Club Soccer's Player Development Program training. In July, both players participated in training sessions in conjunction with the Midwest Developmental League playoffs in Libertyville, Illinois. The id2 Program Training Camps are part of US Club Soccer's id2 National Player Identification and Development Program, established in 2004, and provide an opportunity for the country's top youth players to be identified and developed for inclusion in U.S. Soccer's National Team programs.

NIXA SOCCER CLUB JOINS SPORTING CLUB NETWORK
The Sporting Club Network welcomed its newest member, Nixa Soccer Club, on December 13. Nixa Soccer Club, a youth soccer organization that currently consists of approximately 120 girls and boys between the ages of U9 and U15, is dedicated to promoting the sport of soccer and the associated fitness benefits. For more, visit www.nixasoccer.org.

The club becomes the 30th member of the Sporting Club Network, which is a groundbreaking membership of athletes and athletic organizations. The Sporting Club Network was created to bring groups throughout the Midwest together as partners with Sporting Club and Sporting Kansas City.

"We have seen continued growth and support in Southwest Missouri, and are excited to make Nixa the first Network member in the greater Springfield area," Sporting Club Network manager Kristin Bock said. "It is important for us to not only reach youth clubs and players within the greater Kansas City Metro area, but also beyond to help grow the game of soccer."

Among the many benefits provided to Sporting Club Network affiliates, Nixa Soccer Club will now have unique access to the Sporting Club Training Center in Swope Park as well as the coaches education series, licensing and experience opportunities and more.

Sporting Kansas City players Matt Besler and Seth Sinovic were in attendance at a Nixa Soccer Club clinic last week. The defenders conducted a question-and-answer session with the club's players and sign autographs for the clinic participants.

"The professional approach and personal touch that the staff and players presented was top notch," Nixa Soccer Club president Tim Sterling said. "I know we could host another clinic in the future that would be even bigger and better."

SUPPORT THE U.S. SOCCER FOUNDATION CREATING CHANCES CAMPAIGN
Fans can support the U.S. Soccer Foundation's Creating Chances campaign this holiday season by donating money towards their Soccer for Success 2013 initiative. Your donation provides 90 minutes of instruction per day for three days a week for 24 weeks in the year, as well as a uniform and soccer ball. Donations help the U.S. Soccer Foundation in their mission to grow the game of soccer nationwide in the new year. Visit secure.creatingchances.org/donate and select a giving level to make your contribution today.

The U.S. Soccer Foundation is a recognized leader in sports-based youth development programs for children in underserved, urban communities. Since its founding in 1994, the organization has provided more than $57 million in funding to create and sustain innovative programs across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Proven to deliver positive health and social outcomes, the Foundation's affordable initiatives offer safe environments in which both boys and girls thrive.

2013 DISNEY PRO SOCCER CLASSIC SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED
The schedule has been announced for the 2013 Disney Pro Soccer Classic, which will open with a matchup between the Columbus Crew and Toronto Football Club on Saturday, February 9 at 1 p.m.

The six Major League Soccer (MLS) teams participating in Central Florida Soccer Spring Training, as well as Orlando City Soccer Club (USL) and the Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL), will compete in two weeks of group play, with Group A consisting of Orlando City, Philadelphia Union, Toronto Football Club and Columbus Crew. Teams in Group B will include the Tampa Bay Rowdies, DC United, Montreal Impact and Sporting Kansas City. All games will be played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World.

Saturday, February 9, 2013:
1 p.m.: Columbus Crew vs. Toronto Football Club 
3 p.m.: Montreal Impact vs. Sporting Kansas City
6 p.m.: Orlando City Soccer Club vs. Philadelphia Union 
8 p.m.: DC United vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies

Wednesday, February 13, 2013: 
1 p.m.: Philadelphia Union vs. Columbus Crew 
3 p.m.: Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Montreal Impact 
6 p.m.: Sporting Kansas City vs. DC United 
8 p.m.: Toronto Football Club vs. Orlando City Soccer Club

Saturday, February 16, 2013: 
1 p.m.: Montreal Impact vs. DC United 
3 p.m.: Philadelphia Union vs. Toronto Football Club 
6 p.m.: Orlando City Soccer Club vs. Columbus Crew 
8 p.m.: Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Sporting Kansas City

Pro Soccer Classic Championship Day - Saturday, February 23, 2013: 
1 p.m.: Group A Fourth Place vs. Group B Fourth Place
3 p.m.: Group A Third Place vs. Group B Third Place 
6 p.m.: Group A Second Place vs. Group B Second Place 
8 p.m.: Group A First Place vs. Group B First Place

Travel packages are available that include lodging, Disney Pro Soccer Classic game tickets, attraction tickets and exclusive VIP experiences. Additionally, Soccer Spring Training will include a number of events aimed at increasing excitement for soccer in Central Florida, including a College Combine, International Trials and amateur soccer tournaments.

For more information about Central Florida Soccer Spring Training and to book a travel package, please visit www.SoccerSpringTraining.com or call the official travel provider, GET Travel, at 888-877-4445, option 3.

SPORTING STYLE LAUNCHES NEW ONLINE STORE
Find all of the latest Sporting Kansas City merchandise just in time for the holidays on Sporting Style's new site. For the latest news on new merchandise, follow @sportingstyle on Twitter

SPORTING KC ANNOUNCES 2013 PRE-SEASON DESTINATIONS
Sporting Kansas City will travel to Tucson, Ariz. and Orlando, Fla. for the team's 2013 pre-season. The team will arrive in Tucson on Jan. 20 for a two-week stay and will participate in The Desert Friendlies presented by FC Tucson against other MLS competition at the Kino Sports Complex. The matches will be open to the public with tickets to go on sale later this month. Visit FCTucson.com for more information. The upcoming pre-season will mark the third straight year that Sporting Kansas City has selected Tucson as a pre-season site.

After returning home to Kansas City on Feb. 2, the club will depart for the second leg of the 2013 pre-season in Orlando on Feb. 7. Sporting Kansas City will be one of several MLS teams once again competing in the 2013 Disney Pro Soccer Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex from Feb. 9-23. Sporting Kansas City supporters can follow the club to Central Florida to see the team compete in the tournament while enjoying all of the world class attractions Orlando has to offer. Travel packages are available that include lodging, match tickets, attraction tickets and exclusive VIP experiences. Visit SoccerSpringTraining.com for details.

In addition to the MLS regular season schedule, Sporting Kansas City's 2013 campaign will be highlighted by the club's defense of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title and participation in the 2013-2014 CONCACAF Champions League. Season tickets for the 2013 season at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park start at $300 for a20-game package and are available to purchase by calling 888-4KC-GOAL.

SPORTING KC NOW TAKING DEPOSITS FOR 2013 RESERVED SEATING
Sporting Kansas City supporters can now place 2013 Season Ticket Deposits for all Reserved Seating at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park by calling 888-4KC-GOAL or visiting www.SportingKC.com.

FOLLOW SPORTING KC ONLINE
Sporting Kansas City fans looking to keep up with the club on the worldwide web now have a place to go. The social media page on SportingKC.com features Twitter account information for the club, its players as well as many staff members. Additionally, fans may take advantage of the Media Recap page for all the latest independent news coverage available online.