Sporting KC Weekly Update: Jan. 14, 2015

MATT BESLER AND JON KEMPIN SELECTED FOR U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM CAMP
Sporting Kansas City captain Matt Besler and homegrown goalkeeper Jon Kempin were named to the United States Men’s National Team roster last Friday and will participate in the U.S. MNT January Camp from Jan. 12 – Feb. 8 in Carson, California.

The United States's first two international matches in 2015 will highlight the annual training camp. Chile will host the U.S. on Jan. 28 before Jurgen Klinsmann's side returns home to face Panama on Feb. 8 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California (3 p.m. CT, ESPN, UniMas, UDN).

Besler has made 23 international appearances for the U.S. since debuting in 2013. The 27-year-old defender led the national team with 11 starts in 2014, including starting roles in all four games at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The Overland Park, Kansas native has played 161 MLS matches (including postseason) over six seasons since being selected in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft out of Notre Dame. The three-time MLS-All Star (2001, 2013, 2014) has twice earned MLS Best XI recognition (2012, 2013) and was the 2012 MLS Defender of the Year.

Kempin joins the senior U.S. Men's National Team for the first time in his career after previously competing at the Under-14 through Under-23 levels. The Leawood, Kansas native is fresh off a breakthrough 2014 campaign in which he made his MLS debut and became the youngest at his position to play in MLS since 2012. He also entered the record books as the youngest goalkeeper to start an MLS match in club history. Kempin earned back-to-back MLS Save of the Week honors in his first two appearances and was named MVP of the 2014 MLS Chipotle Homegrown Game.

Ranked 27th in the latest FIFA rankings, the U.S. will play seven friendly matches in the next six months to prepare for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup (July 7-26). Five of its opponents are ranked in the top 20 in the world, including regional rival Mexico (April 15), fifth-ranked Netherlands (June 5) and 2014 FIFA World Cup champion Germany (June 10).

SPORTING KC HOLDS THREE FIRST ROUND PICKS IN TOMORROW'S MLS SUPERDRAFT
The first two rounds of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft will take place tomorrow in Philadelphia. Sporting KC currently holds three first round draft picks -- 10th, 12th and 20th overall -- as well as the 30th overall selection in Round 2. The draft will be streamed live on SportingKC.com beginning at 11:30 a.m. CT.

Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes' past selections in the MLS SuperDraft include U.S. internationals Matt Besler and Graham Zusi, World Cup veteran Roger Espinoza, 2014 MLS All-Star Dom Dwyer and veteran defender Chance Myers.

Rounds three and four of the MLS SuperDraft will be held via conference call next Tuesday, Jan. 20.

SPORTING KC AND OKC ENERGY FC RENEW AFFILIATION
Sporting KC announced Friday that the club has renewed its agreement with OKC Energy FC to serve as the team's exclusive USL PRO affiliate with a multi-year extension.

OKC Energy FC was named USL PRO's Rookie Franchise of the Year in 2014 and received five Sporting KC players on loan during the course of last season. Sporting KC will again foster loan agreements between the clubs during the 2015 USL PRO campaign.

In addition to player loans, the two clubs will collaborate on other business ventures such as shared facility access, mutual cooperation between technical staffs, youth soccer initiatives, stadium support, marketing opportunities and fan experience consultation.

KANSAS CITY TO BID ON COPA AMERICA CENTENARIO 2016
Sporting KC has partnered with the Kansas City Sports Commission & Foundation, the Kansas City Chiefs and Visit KC in Kansas City’s bid to be a host city for the Copa America Centenario USA 2016.

The 16-team international soccer tournament will be held in cities across the United States in June 2016 and will mark the first time the event has been staged outside of South America in its 100-year history.

With the tournament's minimum stadium seating capacity requirement of 50,000, Arrowhead Stadium will serve as Kansas City’s venue for the bid. Between eight and 13 stadiums will be selected as sites and winning host cities will be announced in May.

The competition will include all 10 teams from South America’s CONMEBOL confederation and six CONCACAF teams from the North America, Central America and Caribbean region. Fourteen of the 16 countries who will compete at the Copa America Centenario USA 2016 have already been determined, highlighted by seven national teams which are currently ranked among the top 20 teams in the world.

Participating Countries and their FIFA rankings (14 of 16 teams determined to date)
Argentina (No. 2), Bolivia (No. 84), Brazil (No. 6), Chile (No. 14), Colombia (No. 3), Costa Rica (No. 16), Ecuador (No. 26), Jamaica (No. 75), Mexico (No. 20), Paraguay (No. 76), Peru (No. 53), United States (No. 27), Uruguay (No. 10) and Venezuela (No. 87).

NEW ACADEMY FITNESS COACH JOINS SPORTING KC
Sporting KC has appointed Josh McCallister as the club's new Academy Fitness Coach. The 30-year-old native of Marshalltown, Iowa has more than 10 years of coaching experience at the youth and collegiate levels.

After graduating from Northern Iowa in 2008 with a degree in Exercise Science, McCallister began his career with Heartland Soccer Club in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, while pursuing his coaching licenses. He then moved to Des Moines, Iowa, to work for West Des Moines Soccer Club.

In May 2012, West Des Moines Soccer Club joined with Johnston-Urbandale Soccer Club to become Sporting Iowa, an Academy Affiliate in the Sporting Club Network. McCallister coached the Sporting Iowa U-17 and U-18 girls teams before spending a year interning with Major League Soccer's Portland Timbers. Hewas then hired as as an assistant coach for the University of Drake Men's Soccer team, a position he held for two years.

Along with assisting Sporting KC Head Fitness Coach Mateus Manoel on the first team, McCallister's primary responsibilities lie with the club's Academy teams. He will be in charge of developing fitness regimens and strength programs for each of the club's Academy squads, from the U-12s through the U-18s.

FC KANSAS CITY TO PLAY AT SWOPE SOCCER VILLAGE IN 2015
FC Kansas City announced Tuesday that the National Women’s Soccer League champions will play their 2015 season at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Missouri.

Swope Soccer Village will serve as FC Kansas City’s training ground and the site of the team’s home NWSL matches. The world-class facility opened as Sporting KCs official training ground in 2007 and recently underwent a $15.5 million expansion.

Swope Soccer Village has recently attracted numerous championship-level events to the region, having hosted the NCAA Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships and the Big 12 Soccer Championship in 2014.

SPORTING KC RELEASES 2015 MLS SCHEDULE
Sporting Kansas City has released its 34-game regular season schedule for the 2015 Major League Soccer Season.

Single-game tickets for Sporting KC's first 10 regular season home games will go on sale to the general public on Feb. 2, and current 2015 Season Ticket Members will have access to an exclusive pre-sale opportunity. Call 888-4KC-GOAL for information on group ticket packages and partial season ticket packages for the 2015 season.

Visit SportingKC.com for more information on the club's 2015 MLS slate and to download the schedule to eCal.

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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