On Saturday, the Sporting Club Network, presented by Price Chopper, hosted its fifth annual Sporting Club Network Reception in the Boulevard Members Club at Sporting Park. More than 200 guests attended the event, which brought together representatives from 31 SCN member organizations and all 14 of the Network’s Academy Affiliates.
The annual reception is just one of the many events the SCN puts on each year in hopes of establishing a more personal relationship between its members, their respective communities and Sporting Kansas City. As an added perk, those who attended the reception received complimentary tickets to that night’s Sporting KC match at Sporting Park.
For the first hour of the event, guests enjoyed a catered dinner and an opportunity to meet fellow Network members, share ideas and reflect upon their organizations’ successes within the past year. Since launching in 2011, the Sporting Club Network has seen incredible growth and development, having now expanded to consist of over 60 Network Affiliates and members located in cities across the Midwest—including Minneapolis, Minnesota, Nashville, Tennessee and, of course, Kansas City. That being said, it was great to see our members taking advantage of this true networking opportunity.
Once everyone had settled in, Betsy Maxfield, Vice President of Soccer Projects for Sporting Kansas City, approached the podium to welcome all of the reception’s guests. In her opening comments, she summarized the impressive growth the Network has experienced in the past year while also highlighting a few of the SCN’s most successful signature events along the way.
For example, this past June, the Sporting Club Network teamed up with FC Kansas City to host 100 players for its first-ever all girls mini clinic. Another event that Maxfield made sure to point out was the Spring 2015 Academy Affiliate All-Star Experience. Each of these events, in addition to countless others held throughout the calendar year, are free and open to all members of the Sporting Club Network—an exclusive benefit of being affiliated with Sporting Club.
Following Maxfield’s brief remarks, a quick ‘year in review’ video was shown. Check out the 2014-2015 SCN recap video below…
Next, Maxfield invited the event’s guest speaker, Andy Gruenebaum, to the stage. As a Kansas City-native, retired MLS goalkeeper, current color commentator on the SKCTV broadcast team and Sporting Club Network Liaison, Gruenebaum made for the ideal individual who could speak both upon his unique set of experiences, as well as what the Sporting Club Network means to him. All in all, guests seemed to appreciate Gruenebaum’s honest testimony and trademark candor as he addressed those in attendance.
The last item on the reception’s agenda was to recognize this year’s 2015 Kevin Gray Award recipients. Three out of the six winners were able to make it to the event, as well as one family who attended on behalf of their son, the Male Youth Player of the Year. Later that evening, the winners walked onto the field at halftime in order to be acknowledged for their notable soccer success.
At the reception, after each honoree was spotlighted with a short reading of his/her soccer accomplishments, the guests embarked on an optional stadium tour of Sporting Park. Those who chose to forgo the tour remained in the Boulevard Members Club and joined the KC Cauldron and other U.S. Soccer fans for an official watch party for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s Gold Cup match versus Cuba. Following a solid 6-0 USA win, all of our Sporting Club Network members and Affiliates relaxed to enjoy being a part of Sporting Park’s 63rd straight sellout crowd and Sporting KC’s eighth straight home victory across all competitions as SKC prevailed 2-1 over the Montreal Impact.
Thank you to all of our valued members and affiliates for an amazing year and annual reception! Check out the complete photo album from the event here. And don’t forget to like the our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for continual updates on all things Sporting Club Network.