FC Nashville Heroes of Nashville, Tenn. has officially joined forces with Sporting Kansas City and Sporting Club as the newest Academy Affiliate in the Sporting Club Network. Rebranded as Sporting Nashville Heroes, the club will now be the most eastern Academy Affiliate and expands the program’s reach into another state while giving players of that region a direct path to the Sporting Kansas City senior team.
Sporting Nashville was founded and is led by longtime US Men’s National Team player Desmond Armstrong. Throughout his playing career, Armstrong had 81 caps for the senior national team, including appearances in the 1988 Summer Olympics and all three of the United States games in the 1990 FIFA World Cup. He was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2012.
Armstrong holds a USSF A coaching license and has served in a number of coaching roles in the collegiate and youth ranks before founding FC Nashville Heroes to help develop talent in that area to the next level.
“We are thrilled to have Sporting Nashville Heroes join the Academy Affiliate ranks as the newest member of the Sporting Club Network,” Sporting Kansas City Academy Director of Coaching Jon Parry said. “We look forward to growing this partnership with them and are already off to a great start, having brought in three of their players for a trial with our Academy in 2013.”
Players that participate and compete through the Academy Affiliate program will be directly connected to Sporting Kansas City’s Academy and youth development initiatives. In turn, they will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience while receiving heightened levels of training and development.
All Sporting Nashville Heroes players will be invited to participate in the annual Academy Affiliate Tournament, an event that brings together many of the most competitive and talented youth soccer players from across the Midwest, all under the Sporting Club umbrella. Select Sporting Nashville Heroes players will also be named to Academy Affiliate All-Star Teams throughout the year, offering these players a chance to learn the game in the same environment and setting as Sporting KC’s own Academy and first-team players.
"It's a great honor to join the Sporting Club Network and have a direct link with the MLS Champions for our most talented youth players,” Armstrong said. “We will now be better able to provide many aspiring players direct access to the next level, be it professional or a top college program. Because of our location, we operate from an academy standpoint in that we do not participate in state leagues, and we focus on training and meaningful games. In being a part of the Sporting Club Network, we can better achieve our club tenets which are: development, competition and exposure."
As an Academy Affiliate member, Sporting Nashville Heroes becomes an extension of the Sporting KC Academy and therefore an extension of the club’s scouting network. The relationship between the Sporting Club Network and Sporting Nashville Heroes will play an important part in the overall growth of soccer in the Midwest by elevating the level of youth soccer in the region while also offering extensive new benefits that will directly impact the improvement of these players. In the search for the next homegrown star that will wear the Sporting Kansas City crest and win championships at Sporting Park, Nashville and the surrounding area will now be a location closely linked with Sporting KC to look for and develop future talent.