Sporting Kansas City will host English Premier League club Newcastle United F.C. on Wednesday, July 20th in an international friendly at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, the team announced Tuesday. The match will be included in all Sporting Kansas City season ticket packages, which are currently available for purchase at SportingKC.com/VirtualVenue or by calling 888-4KC-GOAL and start at only $280 for 20 games.
“This match will continue the presence of prominent soccer matches in Kansas City and will be an outstanding opportunity for supporters to see Sporting Kansas City play against another strong team from the English Premier League,” Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman said. “We are excited to bring a club that has such a passionate following and we are hopeful that their great fans will join us in Kansas City at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on July 20th.”
Sporting Kansas City garnered international attention last summer after their victory over Manchester United in front of 52,424 fans at Arrowhead Stadium, the largest crowd to ever attend a soccer match in Kansas City. Kansas City also hosted the Clasico between Mexico's two most popular clubs, Chivas Guadalajara and Club America, in 2009.
In preparation for the friendly, which has been brokered by Santio Sports and Entertainment, the EPL club is expected to hold training sessions at the Sporting Club Training Center in Swope Park (formerly Swope Park Training Center, 6310 Lewis Rd., Kansas City, Mo) from July 17 through July 19 as part of their pre-season. VIP packages, including the opportunity to attend a Newcastle United training session, an exclusive autograph session with Newcastle players and a coaches’ clinic with the team's technical staff, will be made available at a later date.
The match is the second international event scheduled to be held at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, the 18,467 seat venue currently under construction in Kansas City, Kansas. The state-of-the-art, $200 million home ground of Sporting Kansas City is Major League Soccer's newest soccer-specific stadium and was selected to host a 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup doubleheader on June 14th, featuring the United States Men's National Team.
“Myself and the team are really looking forward to coming to America in the summer and playing against Sporting Kansas City,” Newcastle United Manager Alan Pardew said. “We’re planning a few days training in Kansas City before the game, which will form an integral part of our build-up for the 2011-12 season. I know Manchester United were in Kansas City last year and went home beaten, so we know full well what a tough game it will be for us, but that is exactly the sort of challenge we will be looking for.”
“We’re delighted also to be able to put on a technical clinic for the coaches in Kansas City, which we hope will assist with the development of the sport in the region. It should be a very good week for all concerned and I would like to express our thanks to the people of Kansas City for extending the invitation to us.”
Newcastle United, commonly referred to as The Magpies and The Toon, have a long history at the top level of professional soccer in England, dating back to their origins as a club in 1892. Newcastle’s legacy includes iconic players such as Peter Beardsley, Alan Shearer and Andy Cole in recent generations. The four-time first division champions have also won six FA Cups and the European Fairs Cup in 1969. The club is well-known in the modern era of European competition, having also advanced to the semi-finals of the 2003-04 UEFA Cup and advancing out of the group stage in the 2002-03 UEFA Champions League.
The club is led by Manager Pardew and captain Kevin Nolan, 2010 Championship Player of the Year and the team's leading goal scorer this season. The first-team squad features several internationally-recognized stars, including midfielder Cheik Tiote, Argentine internationals Fabricio Collocini and Jonas Gutierrez and long serving goalkeeper Steve Harper.
Newcastle's 2011 campaign has seen the club compete with some of the top teams in the English Premier League, beating Liverpool 3-1 and Arsenal 1-0 at Emirates Stadium, as well as earning points in draws against Chelsea and Arsenal, the latter of which came in a historic four-goal comeback in February. Newcastle (9-12-9) currently sits in 11th place in the EPL table with 36 points from 30 games played and will host Wolverhampton on Saturday at their home ground, St. James’ Park.