In a major statement of intent, Sporting KC is excited to announce an increased presence in the city of St. Louis, with an ultimate goal of creating even stronger ties to its youth soccer community. Highlighted by the extension of Sporting St. Louis’ Academy Affiliate contract, as well as plans to host the first-ever Affiliate Market Camp in St. Louis with fellow affiliate Sporting JB Marine, Sporting KC is planning a number of new opportunities for those clubs and its members through the Sporting Club Network, presented by Price Chopper.
Originally founded as the Woodson City Rangers, Sporting St. Louis was one of the first Academy Affiliates, and the second-ever to rebrand and take on their own “Sporting” identity. Led on the technical side by Tommy Howe, the club builds its philosophy off of the former Sporting KC Academy coach and his incredible track record of producing professional players throughout the years. Since their rebrand, the club facilitated a significant merger in 2015 with fellow youth club AC Porta Via, while securing primary tenancy of Sportport International, a multi-use sports complex. With that tenancy, numerous fields have already been replaced with turf, with more expected on the way – an incredibly important move to help maximize available training and game times for the club’s teams.
Sporting KC is proud to extend its relationship with Sporting St. Louis, with the two parties recently completing an extension of their affiliate contract, executing what is now the longest contract in the history of the affiliate program. "We could not be happier with the contract extension with Sporting Kansas City,” commented Brian Landry, SSTL Director of Operations. “Players, parents and coaches are looking forward to continuing our relationship with KC and building a premier club in our city."
Beyond an extension of this brand though, the move cements Sporting KC’s long-term presence in the city of St. Louis, as well as the opportunity to keep those players tied to SKC’s long-term player development pathway. Club President Kevin Howe, added: "We are excited to continue our relationship with a quality professional organization like Sporting Kansas City. We look forward to continuing to offer a quality brand of soccer in St Louis that reflects that of our MLS affiliate."
Built on a tradition of pushing players to the top, and still one of the most historically successful clubs in the female side of the game, Sporting JB Marine has always held player development at the highest regard. Besides the record six national titles under the club’s belt, they most recently even had former players competing at the highest level with the U.S. Women’s National Team, as Becky Sauerbraun and Lori Chalupny, who grew up playing for JB in St. Louis, were key contributors in the team that won the 2015 World Cup.
The club continues to dig its roots even further into the St. Louis soccer community, seen most recently last year through a merger with the club, STL Prospects, bringing a significant number of new, high-level players into the club. Despite the significant distance between the two markets though, Sporting JB Marine continually looks to push top players on to the SKC Academy, always with the goal of providing the best opportunities to each individual player within the club. They’ve found their greatest success with this goal within the past year, as numerous Sporting JB Marine players have had opportunities to trial with the SKC Academy, with some even earning full-time spots with the club last fall.
It’s largely because of this commitment to the process of long-term development, that we are excited to announce our first-ever Affiliate Market Camp in the city of St. Louis. Open to the entire youth soccer community, Sporting JB Marine has taken the initiative to bring Sporting KC’s very own Youth Programs to St. Louis providing supplemental training aligned with SKC’s methodologies even closer to home for the club. The four-day camp will have multiple registration options, with curriculum straight from SKC’s professional & Academy teams. To register for this Affiliate Market Camp, click here for the premier level registration and here for the developmental level registration.
“Having the opportunity to increase our presence in the city of St. Louis through our Academy Affiliate program is something we’re incredibly excited to do,” commented Sporting KC Academy Director, Jon Parry. “Beyond being able to further support that youth soccer community & provide them a stronger connection to Sporting KC, this will help provide a pathway for more top boys & girls to join the US Soccer Development Academy, and eventually even the professional ranks.”
To help celebrate this announcement and build momentum towards future visits to St. Louis, Sporting KC will be sending SCN staff and one of the SKC Academy Coaches to visit both clubs in the month of May. At this particular visit, the two clubs will host a series of events allowing their membership to engage with SKC’s youth staff, including a Coaching Education, exclusive training sessions with specific age groups, director-level strategic meetings, and even the opportunity to identify players that could some day progress to the SKC Academy, and eventually the club’s senior team.
For more information on both of Sporting KC’s Academy Affiliates in St. Louis and to view links to their social media and website, visit the Sporting St. Louis and Sporting JB Marine SCN member pages on SportingKC.com. And as always, to stay up to date on all things Sporting Club Network, be sure to follow the SCN on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.