Sporting KC Weekly Update: Dec. 10, 2014

SPORTING KC ACQUIRES BERNARDO ANOR, TRADES AURELIEN COLLIN AND C.J. SAPONG
Sporting Kansas City announced three separate trades on Monday in conjunction with Major League Soccer's Half-Day Trade Window:

  1. Sporting KC acquired midfielder Bernardo Añor from Columbus Crew SC in exchange for allocation money;
  2. Sporting KC received allocation money and future considerations from Orlando City SC in exchange for defender Aurélien Collin;
  3. Sporting KC received the Philadelphia Union's highest first round pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft in exchange for forward C.J. Sapong.

Per club policy, additional terms of the agreements will not be disclosed.

Añor has been added to Sporting KC's senior roster and will occupy an international roster spot. The 26-year-old Venezuela native has appeared in 72 MLS matches over four seasons with Columbus Crew SC, scoring 12 goals and adding three game-winning assists since being drafted out of the University of South Florida in 2011.

Following four seasons in Kansas City, Collin and Sapong were each traded to Eastern Conference clubs on Monday.

Collin, 28, joins expansion side Orlando City Soccer Club for their inaugural MLS season in 2015. A three-time MLS All-Star and two-time selection to the MLS Best XI, Collin made 113 MLS appearances with 14 goals and three assists for Sporting KC. 

The Lions, a USL PRO affiliate for Sporting KC in 2013 and 2014, traded allocation money and future considerations to Sporting KC as part of the transaction. Allocation money does not count against a club's salary budget and can be used in accordance with MLS roster rules, including to sign players new to MLS, to re-sign an existing MLS player or to "buy-down" a player's salary budget charge.

Sapong moves to the Philadelphia Union after scoring 22 goals and adding 10 assists in 121 MLS matches for Sporting KC. The Manassas, Virginia native was drafted in the first round of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft out of James Madison University. Sapong was named MLS Rookie of the Year in 2011 and made two appearances for the United States Men's National Team in 2012.

Philadelphia traded their highest first round pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft to Sporting KC in order to acquire Sapong. Sporting KC now hold three first round picks in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft as well as four picks in the first two rounds of the draft (currently 10th, 12th, 20th and 30th). The MLS SuperDraft will be held on Jan. 15 in Philadelphia for Major League Soccer teams to select eligible collegiate players and select youth internationals.

SPORTING KC UNVEILS LIST OF PROTECTED PLAYERS FOR TODAY'S MLS EXPANSION DRAFT
Major League Soccer announced on Monday that Sporting KC has protected the following 11 players ahead of today's MLS Expansion Draft:

     DEF: Matt Besler, Igor Juliao, Chance Myers, Ike Opara, Seth Sinovic
     MF: Bernardo Añor, Benny Feilhaber, Jimmy Medranda, Paulo Nagamura, Graham Zusi
     FWD: Dom Dwyer

Additionally, goalkeeper Jon Kempin (Homegrown), defender Kevin Ellis (Homegrown), defender Erik Palmer-Brown (Homegrown) and midfielder Mikey Lopez (Generation adidas) are automatically protected per the MLS Expansion Draft rules, which also required Sporting KC to protect a minimum of three International Players (Añor, Juliao and Medranda).

The following players from Sporting KC’s 2014 roster will be eligible for selection:

     GK: Andy Gruenebaum, Eric Kronberg
     MF: Jorge Claros, Christian Duke, Michael Kafari, Victor Munoz, Lawrence Olum, Martin Steuble
     FWD: Claudio Bieler, Antonio Dovale, Jacob Peterson, Soony Saad, Sal Zizzo

Of those players, four are under contract with the club for the 2015 season (Bieler, Claros, Duke and Steuble). Sporting KC has extended offers to Peterson and Saad.

Eastern Conference expansion teams Orlando City SC and New York City FC will alternate selections in the 10-round Expansion Draft at 1 p.m. CT today. The draft will be streamed live on SportingKC.comClick here for a list of all draft-eligible players, released by Major League Soccer on Monday.

If a non-protected Sporting KC player is claimed in the Expansion Draft, then Sporting KC is permitted to move a player from its non-protected roster to its protected roster. No more than two players may be selected from any one MLS team during the Expansion Draft and teams whose players are selected during the Expansion Draft will be compensated with allocation money.

STEUBLE AND THE PHILIPPINES ELIMINATED FROM 2014 AFF SUZUKI CUP
Sporting KC midfielder Martin Steuble started and played 82 minutes Wednesday as the Philippines were eliminated from the 2014 Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup after a 3-0 defeat to Thailand in the semifinal second leg. The result at Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok sent Thailand to the finals with a 3-0 aggregate victory following last Saturday's scoreless first leg.

A right winger in the Philippines’ 4-2-3-1 formation, Steuble recorded his fifth straight Suzuki Cup start and contributed one of the Azkals' three shots on target. He received a second yellow card in the 82nd minute, ending his streak of playing every minute in the tournament.

Steuble’s 17 caps in 2014 are the most by a Sporting KC player this year. He committed to the Philippines Men's National Team in 2013, made his international debut this March and scored his first Azkal goal in April. He competed in the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup in May, helping the Philippines to a second place finish.

The 26-year-old midfielder joined Sporting KC on July 16 from Swiss side FC Wil 1900, featured in an international friendly against Manchester City on July 23 and made his MLS debut against the Philadelphia Union on Aug. 1 for the first of three league appearances. He previously spent his entire professional career in Switzerland, featuring for FC Wil 1900, Grasshopper Zurich, Lausanne Sport, FC Wohlen, and Neuchâtel Xamax.

Steuble is one of seven Sporting KC players to compete on the international level in 2014, joining Matt Besler (USA), Graham Zusi (USA), Lawrence Olum (Kenya), Jorge Claros (Honduras), Soony Saad (Lebanon) and Erik Palmer Brown (USA U-20).

KEVIN ELLIS AND JON KEMPIN TO APPEAR AT BOULEVARD BREWING COMPANY POP-UP STORE ON THURSDAY
Two Sporting KC Homegrown Players—defender Kevin Ellis and goalkeeper Jon Kempin—will be at the Boulevard Brewing Company Pop-Up Store's “Thirsty Thursdays” event this Thursday, Dec. 11, from 6-7:30 p.m. CT (414 Nichols Road, Kansas City, MO 64112).

In addition to autograph opportunities with Ellis and Kempin, the pop-up store will offer complimentary beer samplings and a variety of Boulevard-themed merchandise, including apparel, glassware and creations from local artisans. The brewery has also partnered with several local businesses to create unique beer-inspired items, including newly designed posters from Hammerpress, lathers from Basement Soap and T-shirts from Charlie Hustle.

GROUP TICKETS NOW ON SALE FOR 2015 SEASON AT SPORTING PARK
Sporting KC is now accepting deposits for groups of 20 or more to attend home matches at Sporting Park in 2015. Those interested are encouraged to act now due to high demand and limited availability. Individuals can contact a group sales representative by phone at 913-387-3400 or by completing the online registration form.

Group deposits start at $300 and will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis to secure priority consideration for preferred seating areas, game dates and requested matchday amenities. Accommodations are limited and advance reservations are required.

Sporting Park has sold out 53 straight MLS matches (including postseason) dating back to 2012. The stadium will feature unique premium hospitality options specifically tailored to group experiences in 2015, including indoor/outdoor seating, all-inclusive food/drink, pre-match tailgating and on-field VIP experiences.

The highly anticipated 2015 Major League Soccer season will run from March through October with Sporting KC playing 17 regular season home matches. The two-time MLS Cup champions will celebrate their 20th season with a move to the Western Conference, guaranteeing home dates against the LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders FC—the top three teams in the West this season—who feature the likes of MVP finalists Robbie Keane and Obafemi Martins and U.S. Men’s National Team captain Clint Dempsey.

Major League Soccer will release the full 2015 schedule following MLS Cup 2014.

NCAA DIVISION III MEN'S AND WOMEN'S NATIONAL CHAMPIONS CROWNED AT SWOPE
The NCAA Division III Men's and Women's Soccer Championships concluded last Friday and Saturday at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Missouri. Tufts University (Mass.) lifted the men's championship after defeating Wheaton College (Ill.) 4-2 on Saturday, while SUNY Oneonta and Ohio Wesleyan University suffered losses in Friday's semifinals. Saturday's women's championship saw Lynchburg College (Virginia) prevail in a penalty shootout against Williams College (Massachusetts) after a scoreless draw through regulation and two overtimes. Illinois Wesleyan University and Johns Hopkins University (Md.) fell in Friday's semifinals.

The 2014 NCAA Division III Men's and Women's Soccer Championships at Swope Soccer Village were co-hosted by the Kansas City Sports Commission and Fontbonne University. This year's final four was the first of four consecutive years in which NCAA men's and women's soccer championships will be competed at the state-of-the-art complex (Division III in 2014 and 2015; Division II in 2016 and 2017).

The 2015 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer College Cup will be held at Sporting Park from Dec. 11-13, 2015. For more information, visit NCAA.com/championships.

SPORTING CLUB AND WWI MUSEUM TO CO-HOST SECOND ANNUAL TRUCE TOURNAMENT
Sporting Club and the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial will host the second annual Truce Tournament on Friday, Dec. 26. The Kansas City soccer community is invited to participate in the 3v3 tournament that will be played on Liberty Hill and attend an English Premier League Watch Party inside the WWI Museum.

Following a tradition that began last year, the 2014 Truce Tournament comes on the 100th Anniversary of World War I and pays homage to the time-honored story of the Christmas Truce. According to legend, WWI battles temporarily ceased around Christmas 1914 as members of both warring armies ventured into No Man’s Land to exchange gifts, sing carols and play soccer.

Registration for the event is open until Thursday, Dec. 18, at www.TheTruceKC.comClick here for more information on the Truce Tournament.

TODAY ONLY: 25% OFF SPORTING CLUB CLOTHING LINE
Sporting Club has released its new fashion line for Sporting KC, offering fans an extensive selection of new clothing and merchandise. The Sporting Club brand -- featuring recently released men's and women's items -- is available for 25% off today only via Sporting Style’s website or the Sporting Style pop-up store inside the Boulevard Members Club at Sporting Park (10am - 7pm) while supplies last. Fans are encouraged to follow @SportingStyle on Twitter throughout the holiday season for all the latest news.

TICKETS ON SALE FOR NCAA D-II FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP AT SPORTING PARK
Tickets are on sale to the general public for the NCAA Division II Football Championship to be played at Sporting Park on Dec. 20. Hosted by the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Associations and the Kansas City Sports Commission, the championship game will be held inside the state-of-the-art stadium for the next four years. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.com while supplies last.

FOLLOW SPORTING KC ONLINE
Sporting KC fans looking to keep up with the club online now have a place to go. The Social Media page on SportingKC.com features Twitter account information for the club, its players and several staff members. Fans may also take advantage of the Media Recap page for all the latest independent news coverage.

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