Weekly Update: January 2, 2014

All the latest news and notes from Sporting KC

Josh Gardner - May 5, 2013

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports Images

Sporting KC crowned MLS Cup champions
Palmer-Brown to join US U-18 MNT
Oriol Rosell features in Catalonia friendly
Josh Gardner signs new contract
MLS Cup triumph voted Moment of the Year
Sporting KC signs Eric Kronberg to new contract
Sporting KC adds second USL PRO affiliate in 2014
Sporting KC acquires Andy Gruenebaum and Sal Zizzo
Kansas City to host 14 NCAA Championships
Construction on Phase II of Swope Soccer Village begins
Sporting KC releases 2014 MLS schedule
38 The Spot (KMCI) named Sporting KC's new local TV partner
Sporting KC returning to Tucson and Orlando for 2014 pre-season
Sporting KC to face Cruz Azul in 2013-14 CCL quarterfinals
Secure 2014 season tickets at Sporting Park
Follow Sporting KC online   

SPORTING KC CROWNED MLS CUP CHAMPIONS

Sporting Kansas City prevailed in MLS Cup 2013 in a 10-round penalty shootout after regulation and two-15 minute extra time periods concluded in a 1-1 draw at Sporting Park on Dec. 7. The match was nationally broadcast on ESPN and UniMas.

Alvaro Saborio gave Real Salt Lake the first goal of the match in the 52nd minute of play, receiving a well-placed pass from teammate Kyle Beckerman. Collin equalized for Sporting KC in the 76th minute off a Graham Zusi corner kick. The goal was Collin's third during the MLS postseason, most among all players in the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Collin also notched the game-winning goal in the penalty shootout to secure the second league title in the team's 18-year history and a berth in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League. Collin was named the Volkswagen MLS Cup 2013 MVP.

PALMER-BROWN TO JOIN US U-18 MNT

Sporting Kansas City homegrown defender Erik Palmer-Brown will join the United States Under-18 Men's National Team for a training camp from Jan. 4-11 in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. Palmer-Brown, 16, scored his first goal on the international level and played every minute for U.S. U-18 MNT head coach Javier Perez in October during a four-team international tournament in France.

The Lee's Summit, Mo. native became the youngest signing in club history and the only player born in 1997 on a MLS roster when he signed a Homegrown Player contract with Sporting Kansas City in August. He attended the prestigious U.S. Soccer Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla. for the spring semester and has featured extensively in international competition for the United States Under-15, Under-17 and Under-18 youth national teams in 2013. Palmer-Brown was one of five finalists for U.S. Soccer's 2013 Young Male Athlete of the Year.

ORIOL ROSELL FEATURES IN CATALONIA FRIENDLY

Midfielder Oriol Rosell continued his breakout year with a second-half substitute appearance for Catalonia in Monday's 4-1 win over the Cape Verde Islands.
Rosell entered the match in the 68th minute for Real Valladolid's Marc Valiente in front of his hometown fans at Barcelona's Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys. The appearance marked the international debut for the 21-year-old midfielder, who formerly plied his trade in the Barcelona Academy.

Monday's match featured some of the top players in the world including FC Barcelona's Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique. Cape Verde jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute before Catalonia scored three goals in the following minutes. Real Oviedo's Sergio Garcia scored twice and Ajax's Bojan Krkic tallied once as the home side grabbed a 3-1 lead before halftime. Osasuna striker Oriol Riera scored the final goal in Monday's 4-1 win.

JOSH GARDNER SIGNS NEW CONTRACT

Sporting Kansas City announced on Thursday that defender Josh Gardner has signed a new contract with the club. The defender made eight appearances, starting two matches, during the 2013 MLS regular season. Gardner earned an assist on his Sporting KC debut in a 4-0 victory over Chivas USA at Sporting Park on May 5.

Gardner also appeared in two 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League matches for Sporting KC in the group stage and started Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matches against the Des Moines Menace (May 29) and Orlando City SC (June 12).

Gardner began his MLS career as a first round pick in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft with the LA Galaxy until joining the Seattle Sounders in 2007 and Carolina Railhawks in 2009. Gardner returned to MLS in 2011 with the Columbus Crew before being selected by the Montreal Impact in the 2011 MLS Expansion Draft. Sporting KC acquired the University of Cincinnati product prior to the 2013 season.

Fellow defender Federico Bessone will not return in 2014. Signed in September, the 29-year-old dressed for three MLS matches for Sporting KC during the 2013 season but did not make an appearance. Bessone's departure makes a available an international roster spot. Visit SportingKC.com/tracker for a transaction timeline and summary of player movement during the team's offseason.

MLS CUP TRIUMPH VOTED MOMENT OF THE YEAR

For the second consecutive year, a Sporting Kansas City championship at Sporting Park has been voted MLSsoccer.com Moment of the Year. In 2012, it was Sporting KC's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup win over the Seattle Sounders. In 2013, it was Sporting KC's MLS Cup win over Real Salt Lake.

The title match drew 34 percent of the final vote, followed by Portland's postseason win over Seattle (16 percent) and Clint Dempsey being introduced in Seattle (11 percent). Read more here.

SPORTING KC SIGNS ERIC KRONBERG TO NEW CONTRACT

Sporting Kansas City announced that goalkeeper Eric Kronberg has signed a new contract with the club. Per team policy, terms of the agreement will not be disclosed.

Kronberg, 30, enters his ninth season with the club in 2014 and is the longest tenured player on the Sporting Kansas City roster. Kronberg has remained with his current club longer than any active MLS goalkeeper and only one player (Davy Arnaud) in club history has been with the team for more than nine seasons.

SPORTING KC ADDS SECOND USL PRO AFFILIATE IN 2014

Sporting Kansas City announced that the club will partner with two USL PRO teams for the 2014 season, adding a one-year agreement with OKC Energy FC to join Orlando City SC as an official USL PRO affiliate of Sporting KC. A minimum of two Sporting Kansas City players will be loaned to each USL PRO team throughout the season as part of the agreements.

Additionally, former Sporting Kansas City captain Jimmy Nielsen will serve as the head coach of OKC Energy FC in their expansion season in 2014. Nielsen retired after a 19-year playing career that culminated with an MLS Cup championship at Sporting Park.

SPORTING KC ACQUIRES ANDY GRUENEBAUM AND SAL ZIZZO

Sporting Kansas City has acquired goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum from the Columbus Crew in exchange for Sporting KC's second round pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. Gruenebaum has been added to Sporting Kansas City's roster and will occupy a senior roster spot.

Gruenebaum, 30, made 82 appearances in MLS competition (including playoffs) with 277 saves, 18 shutouts and a 1.27 goals against average in eight seasons with the Crew. He led MLS with 124 saves in 2012 and was a finalist for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year after being named the Crew's MVP and Defender of the Year. In 2013, Gruenebaum conceded the second fewest goals (28) among goalkeepers with a minimum of 15 games played.

Additionally, Sporting Kansas City has acquired midfielder Sal Zizzo from the Portland Timbers FC in exchange for allocation money. Zizzo has been added to Sporting Kansas City's roster and will occupy a senior roster spot.

In four MLS seasons, the 26-year-old Zizzo has made 70 appearances with two goals and eight assists while playing for Chivas USA (2010) and Portland (2011-2013). He entered MLS through a weighted lottery in July 2010 after spending his first three seasons as a professional with Hannover 96 in Germany's Bundesliga.

KANSAS CITY TO HOST 14 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS

Sporting Park and Swope Soccer Village will host 13 championships over the next four years:

  • 2014 Division III (M&W) Soccer: Dec. 5-6 at Swope Soccer Village
  • 2014 Division II Football: Dec. 20 at Sporting Park
  • 2015 Division III (M&W) Soccer: Dec. 4-5 at Swope Soccer Village
  • 2015 Division I Men's Soccer: Dec. 11-13 at Sporting Park
  • 2015 Division II Football: Dec. 19 at Sporting Park
  • 2016 Division II (M&W) Soccer: Dec. 1-3 at Swope Soccer Village
  • 2016 Division II Football: Dec. 17 at Sporting Park
  • 2017 Division II (M&W) Soccer: Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at Swope Soccer Village
  • 2017 Division I Women's Volleyball: Dec. 14-16 at Sprint Center
  • 2017 Division II Football: Dec. 16 at Sporting Park

CONSTRUCTION ON PHASE II OF SWOPE SOCCER VILLAGE BEGINS

Construction on Phase II of Swope Soccer Village's $13.44 million expansion has begun to prepare for the development of five new synthetic soccer fields. Located at 63rd and Lewis Rd. in Kansas City's Swope Park, the Swope Soccer Village will be home to nine full-sized soccer fields and facilities upon the project's completion later this year.

In May, a $13.44 million expansion to the Swope Soccer Village was formally approved by the City Council. Four months after breaking ground, the complex's natural grass championship field - the first of six new fields as part of the expansion - opened in November and hosted the 2013 Big 12 Soccer Championship. The conference's postseason tournament will again be played at the Swope Soccer Village in 2014.

The five new synthetic fields will be built on the east side of Lewis Rd. and will each be furnished with lighting and fencing. Grand Construction serves as the general contractor and Sporting Club Network member Brookside Soccer Club will act as a primary tenant. The development will also provide additional infrastructure updates, including new restroom, concession and storage amenities.

MLS Cup champions Sporting Kansas City opened the team's training center at the Swope Soccer Village in 2007 with over 7,800 square feet of facility space and three soccer fields. The Sporting KC Academy, Sporting Club Network members and numerous community outreach programs utilize the existing four fields at the complex.

SPORTING KC RELEASES 2014 MLS SCHEDULE

Sporting KC released the club's 34-game regular season schedule for the 2014 Major League Soccer season.

Sporting Kansas City is currently taking deposits for the 2014 season ticket member waiting list. The non-refundable deposits are $150 per seat for premium areas and $50 per seat for all other section. Groups of 20 or more can also place deposits, starting at $300, to secure priority consideration for preferred seating areas, game dates and hospitality options ahead of the general public. Single-game ticket information will be released at a later date.

38 THE SPOT (KMCI) NAMED SPORTING KC'S NEW LOCAL TV PARTNER

Every Sporting Kansas City regular season MLS match will again be shown live in 2014. KMCI-TV (38 the Spot) will serve as the team's new local broadcast partner and will carry all non-nationally televised regular season matches. Owned by Scripps Media, Inc., KCMI's plans include pre-game and post-game shows, as well as select Sporting Kansas City programing to air on sister station KSHB-TV (Kansas City's NBC affiliate).

SPORTING KC RETURNING TO TUCSON AND ORLANDO FOR 2014 PRE-SEASON

Prior to the 2014 season, Sporting Kansas City will again travel to Tucson, Ariz. and Orlando, Fla. for the team's pre-season preparations. The team will arrive in Tucson on Jan. 23 for a two-week stay. After returning home to Kansas City on Feb. 7, the club will hold the second leg of the 2014 pre-season in Orlando from Feb. 14 thru March 2.

While in Tucson, Sporting KC will participate in the Desert Diamond Cup, tickets and hotel packages are currently available for all fans wishing to attend and can be purchased online.
Sporting KC will headline the 2014 Disney Pro Soccer Classic field at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Sporting KC, along with the Philadelphia Union and the Columbus Crew are the latest entries into the February event at Walt Disney World in suburban Orlando.

Sporting KC's USL PRO affiliate Orlando City SC and fellow MLS side Montreal Impact will also participate in the eight-team pre-season tournament. The remainder of the field will be announced in the next several weeks.

For more information on the Disney Pro Soccer Classic, visit espnwwos.com/prosoccerclassic. Travel packages are available through GetTravel.com. The packages may include accommodations near Walt Disney World Resort, game tickets, ground transportation and discounted Disney theme park tickets.

SPORTING KC TO FACE CRUZ AZUL IN 2013-14 CCL QUARTERFINALS 

Sporting KC will square off with Mexican powerhouse Cruz Azul in the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals next March. Sporting KC won their group with a 2-0-2 record and finished as the No. 7 overall seed in the tournament. They will host Cruz Azul in the first leg at Sporting Park and travel to Mexico City for the second leg the following week.

Cruz Azul are the most successful team in CCL history, winning the tournament five times (tied for most among all clubs) and finishing runners-up in both the 2008-09 and 2009-10 editions. The team's 29 wins are most in CCL history to go along with six draws and nine losses all-time in the tournament.

SECURE 2014 SEASON TICKETS AT SPORTING PARK

Sporting Kansas City is now taking deposits for new season ticket members for the 2014 season at state-of-the-art Sporting Park. The non-refundable deposits are $150 per seat for premium areas and $50 per seat for all other sections and provide fans with priority position for securing full season tickets in 2014.

Additionally, all fans on the Sporting Kansas City season ticket member waiting list will be given access to pre-sale opportunities for select special events at Sporting Park (subject to availability).

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.