Sporting Club announced Wednesday the launch of the Sporting Club Network, a groundbreaking membership of athletes and athletic organizations created to affiliate all interested soccer and other organizations in the Midwest with Sporting Club and Sporting Kansas City.  Sporting Club Network affiliates will be provided with unique member benefits and access opportunities to Sporting Club’s facilities, content, and events. 

“At Sporting Club, we are focused on connecting our membership with their passion,” Sporting Club Chief Operating Officer Greg Cotton said. 

“We listened to the coaches, administrators, parents and participants in the youth and adult soccer community and created the Sporting Club Network to offer unprecedented opportunities to those organizations that wish to affiliate with us.  We believe that together as affiliated organizations, our mutual desire to make Kansas City the hub of soccer in the nation becomes more than a dream – it becomes an attainable goal.”

The founding members of the Sporting Club Network are Heartland Soccer Association, Kaw Valley Soccer Association, Blue Valley Soccer Club, Metro United Soccer Club, Sunflower Soccer Association, Blackfire Soccer Club, Leavenworth Soccer Association, Prodigy Soccer Club, Newton United Soccer Club, Club Azzurri and the United Soccer League of Kansas City. As part of the Sporting Club Network, each organization’s membership will become members of Sporting Club, the parent organization of Sporting Kansas City.

“We are very proud to be a founding member of the Sporting Club Network,” Shane Hackett, executive director of Heartland Soccer Association said. “Heartland has a long standing relationship with Sporting Kansas City and we believe the Sporting Club Network offers our youth soccer players unparalleled access to the professional game, facilities, entertainment and training opportunities that have never been available anywhere.”

Players that participate and compete through a Sporting Club Network member organization will receive a Sporting Club patch to wear during competition, as well as access to exclusive clinics and trainings. Local member coaches will also have the ability to take advantage of a coaching licensure program and premium coaches experiences at both the Sporting Club Training Center in Swope Park as well as at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on matchdays.

“We are honored, and extremely excited, about becoming part of the Sporting Club Network,” Kaw Valley Soccer Association Executive Director Marcus Dudley said. “We believe this partnership will not only increase awareness and participation around youth soccer within our community, we are confident that this alliance will provide a distinct advantage for our members both on and off the field.”

In addition to being founding members of the Sporting Club Network, BVSC and KVSA also become founding affiliates of the Sporting Kansas City Juniors program. The affiliation will provide each club’s players with a direct connection to the Sporting Kansas City technical staff, Senior and Junior teams. Coaches of each Sporting Juniors affiliate will have unprecedented access to advanced coaching and training methods and techniques provided by Sporting Kansas City’s technical staff.

“I’m excited for both BVSC and KVSA to be aligned with the Juniors program. They are both two great clubs and now their best players have a clear path to our teams,” Sporting Kansas City Juniors director of coaching Jon Parry said. “Eventually, everyone is going to want to be aligned with MLS clubs across the country. The level of coaching and competition that MLS teams can provide is unmatched by any other youth soccer environment.”

Each affiliate will, amongst many other significantly increased benefits, have access to Sporting Kansas City’s Juniors curriculum, access for Affiliate coaches to attend Sporting Kansas City Juniors as well as senior team training sessions, and an invitation to attend roundtable discussions during and after summer tryouts for the Sporting Kansas City Juniors four academy teams.

"We feel that this opportunity bridges the gap between our recreational teams all the way up to Sporting Kansas City's senior team," Blue Valley Soccer Club president Mark Christophel said.  “For the players that have the dream of becoming a professional soccer player we believe that this gives them a great opportunity to achieve their goal."

Elite teams from Blue Valley Soccer Club on both the boys and the girls side will play their competitive matches under the name Sporting BVSC in replica kits similar to what are worn by the Sporting Kansas City Juniors. Starting this fall, the boys teams will be playing in U.S. Club Soccer’s National Premier Leagues, while the girls will participate in the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL).

For more information on the Sporting Club Network, click here or contact Betsy Pollard, Sporting Kansas City director of youth soccer.