Sporting KC Weekly Update: Dec. 16, 2015

SPORTING KC SIGNS FREE AGENT MIDFIELDER JUSTIN MAPP

Sporting Kansas City has signed veteran midfielder Justin Mapp, the club announced on Monday. Mapp becomes the first Free Agent signing in Major League Soccer history after the League introduced free agency in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement earlier this year.

Mapp, 31, has recorded 23 goals and 70 assists in 318 MLS appearances (including postseason) since being drafted fourth overall in the 2002 MLS SuperDraft. His 65 regular season assists rank third among active players in MLS.

Mapp spent his rookie campaign at D.C. United before joining the Chicago Fire, where he helped the club reach the playoffs six times between 2003-2010. He left Chicago in July 2010, having won two Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups (2003, 2006) and a Supporters’ Shield title (2003) to go with MLS All-Star (2005) and MLS Best XI (2006) honors.

After contributing four goals and eight assists from 2010-2011 with the Philadelphia Union, Mapp was selected by the Montreal Impact in the MLS Expansion Draft ahead of the 2012 campaign. He has spent each of the last four years with the Canadian side, where he currently ranks second in club history with 21 MLS assists and fifth with 82 regular season appearances.

In 2013 and 2014, Mapp tied MLS career-highs with eight assists and helped Montreal win consecutive Amway Canadian Championship titles, landing tournament MVP honors both times. He was an inactive MLS All-Star in 2013 as Montreal made its first ever appearance in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Mapp earned eight caps for the United States Men’s National Team between 2005 and 2007, including three games played at the 2007 Copa America in Venezuela. He also represented the U.S. at the U-17 and U-20 youth levels.

SKC TAKES GOALKEEPER ALEC KANN IN RE-ENTRY DRAFT

Sporting KC selected former Chicago Fire goalkeeper Alec Kann in Stage One of the 2015 MLS Re-Entry Draft, the club announced on Friday.

Kann, 25, spent most of the 2015 season with Chicago’s USL affiliate Saint Louis FC, recording 74 saves in 19 matches during the team’s inaugural campaign. He finished with a 76.3 save percentage, third best in the USL, before making six saves in his MLS debut on Oct. 25 against the New York Red Bulls.

SWOPE PARK RANGERS SIGN FOUR PLAYERS

The Swope Park Rangers have signed Dane Kelly, Johnny Grant, Kris Tyrpak and Zac Lubin, the club announced on Wednesday. The four newest additions join Christian Duke under contract for the team's inaugural USL season and provide an initial foundation of players whom all featured in the USL earlier this year.

Kelly, a 24-year-old forward, is the USL’s all-time leading scorer with 42 regular-season goals dating back to his 2011 debut with the Charleston Battery, including a career-best 11 goals in 2015.

Grant, 22, is a member of the Canada Men’s National Team and was selected to the roster for his country’s first four matches of 2015. At the club level, Grant earned Ontario League 1 Top XI honors with Sigma FC in 2014. 

Tyrpak, 23, was named MVP of the USL Premier Development League in 2013 with nine goals and one assist for the Austin Aztex during the club’s championship-winning season. As a rookie in MLS, Tyrpak made nine appearances for Chivas USA, tallying one goal and one assist in 2014.

Lubin, 26, joins the Swope Park Rangers after leading the USL with 4.87 saves per game in 2015 as captain for the Tulsa Roughnecks’ inaugural season. The goalkeeper has previously played for the Tacoma Tide, Kitsap Pumas and Seattle Sounders FC U-23’s in the USL PDL in addition to spending the 2014 season in Sweden with IFK Lulea.

For more Rangers coverage, visit SportingKC.com/Rangers and follow the team on social media via TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

NEMETH AND HUNGARY LEARN EURO 2016 OPPONENTS

Sporting Kansas City forward Krisztian Nemeth and the Hungary Men’s National Team learned their group stage opponents for UEFA Euro 2016 during the competition’s official draw on Saturday in Paris.

The Magyars, making their first appearance in the European Championship since 1972, were placed in Group F alongside Portugal, Austria and Iceland.

All 51 matches of next summer’s tournament in France will be televised live in the United States on ESPN’s family of networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3.com, ESPN Deportes) between June 10 and July 10. Ranked 20th in the latest FIFA rankings, Hungary will play Austria (No. 10) on June 14, Iceland (No. 36) on June 18 and Portugal (No. 7) on June 22.

Nemeth has earned 23 caps and scored three goals since debuting for Hungary in 2010. Eight of those appearances came in 2015, including a two-goal salvo against Greece in a Euro 2016 qualifier on Oct. 11.

In his first season with Sporting Kansas City, Nemeth recorded 16 goals and seven assists in all competitions—the most combined goals and assists by a newcomer since 1996. He was named Major League Soccer’s Player of the Month in May and won the AT&T Goal of the Year award for his stunning solo run and finish against the Portland Timbers on Oct. 3.

MLS ISSUES KRISZTIAN NEMETH ONE-GAME SUSPENSION

Sporting Kansas City forward Krisztian Nemeth has been suspended for one regular season match and fined an undisclosed amount for violent conduct endangering the safety of an opponent in the 74th minute of Kansas City’s match against the Portland Timbers on October 29, 2015. Nemeth will miss his first MLS regular season match in 2016 (Video).

THIRD ANNUAL TRUCE TOURNAMENT SET FOR DEC. 26

Sporting Club and the National World War I Museum and Memorial will host the third annual Truce Tournament on Saturday, Dec. 26. The Kansas City soccer community is invited to participate in the 3-v-3 tournament — which will be played on Liberty Hill  attend an English Premier League Watch Party inside the WWI Museum and enjoy the official Truce after-party at The Soccer Lot (2525 Jefferson St.), located just minutes from the museum.

For more information on the Truce Tournament or to register a team, visit www.TheTruceKC.com. Registration ($250 per team) is open through this Sunday, Dec. 20. In addition, participants can visit this link to RSVP to the English Premier League watch party.

Following a tradition that began in 2013, the 2015 Truce Tournament comes on the 101st 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.

TICKETS ON SALE FOR NCAA D-II FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP AT SPORTING PARK

The NCAA Division II Football National Championship will be contested Saturday at Sporting Park between unbeaten teams Northwest Missouri State University (14-0) and Shepherd University (West Virginia, 13-0). Tickets for the national championship game are on sale via Ticketmaster.com and fans can also purchase passes for access to the Boulevard Members Club or Ameritas Shield Club.

In Satuday's semifinal round, Northwest Missouri State defeated West Georgia 38-23, while Shepherd edged past Grand Valley State (Michigan) 34-32.

The 2015 NCAA Division II Football Championship at Sporting Park will be co-hosted by the Kansas City Sports Commission and the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The MIAA will welcome all fans to a pep rally for the championship teams, featuring spirit squads and pep bands, at 7 p.m. CT Friday on the KC Live! stage in Kansas City's Power and Light District.

STANFORD WINS NCAA MEN'S COLLEGE CUP AT SPORTING PARK

Stanford won its first NCAA Division I Men's College Cup in program history on Sunday with a 4-0 victory over Clemson at Sporting Park. U.S. Men's National Team forward Jordan Morris scored twice for the Cardinal, who also received goals from Brandon Vincent and Eric Verso. Stanford scored the most goals in an NCAA final since 1996 and won by the largest margin since 1969, tying for the highest-margin in College Cup history.

Stanford and Clemson advanced to Sunday's championship game with identical results in Friday's national semifinals at Sporting Park. Both schools won penalty kick shootouts after playing to 0-0 draws through regulation, Stanford defeating Akron and Clemson beating Syracuse.

2015 marked the first time that Sporting Park hosted the NCAA Division I Men’s College Cup. The event came one week after Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Missouri, hosted the NCAA Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships on Dec. 5. Amherst College (Massachusetts) defeated Loras College (Iowa) 2-1 in the men’s final, while Williams College (Massachusetts) beat Washington University (St. Louis) 1-0 in the women’s final.

FOLLOW SPORTING KC ONLINE

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

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