Service personnel across all branches of the United States military will be honored Sunday when Sporting Kansas City hosts Sporting Salutes, an immersive military appreciation night at Children’s Mercy Park.
Sporting Salutes will run in conjunction with Sporting Kansas City’s match against Atlanta United FC, set for 7 p.m. CT on FS1 and FOX Deportes. Additionally, Sunday’s game will be broadcast globally on the Armed Forces Network, giving American servicemen and servicewomen the opportunity to watch from across the world. Tickets for the highly anticipated matchup are available at SeatGeek.com.
With nearly 140,000 military veterans living in the Kansas City metropolitan area, Sporting Salutes will give the club and its supporters the opportunity to express gratitude to those who have served our country.
Sunday’s matchday experience will feature a comprehensive military appreciation theme, beginning when the first 5,000 fans in attendance receive a camouflage-colored lunch box courtesy of match sponsor Dairy Farmers of America. All supporters in attendance are encouraged to wear camo in support of military service members and their families.
As fans enter through the gates under camouflage netting, they will see positioned across the Sporting Plaza military vehicles from the Kansas National Guard. They will also hear performing the 35th Division Army band also from the Kansas National Guard. Fans will be able to visit any SportingStyle location in the stadium to purchase a variety of limited-time camo merchandise including scarves, adult and youth training tees, and socks. Budweiser is supporting the event through a pop-up Budweiser bar on the Sporting Plaza where fans can purchase Budweiser in their limited-edition “America” camouflage bottle.
The “wear camo in support of the military” theme extends to the pitch as the corner flags and captain’s armbands will be camouflage. During pregame and throughout the match, military-themed videoboard graphics will be on display inside Children’s Mercy Park. The National Anthem will also be performed by a military veteran during a pre-match ceremony.
Sporting Kansas City players will participate by wearing camo training tops during pregame warmups, and select players will appear on the videoboard delivering “Thank-you” messages to military service members.
The pre-game coin toss will be conducted by Colonel Donald Everett Ballard, a Kansas City native and U.S. Navy veteran who received the Medal of Honor for his heroic deeds during the Vietnam War.
When Sporting KC players walk onto the field prior to kickoff, they will accompany the children of local Kansas and Missouri Gold Star families — those who have lost an immediate family member serving in the armed forces of the United States. Each Sporting KC player’s training top will include the name of a lost Gold Star hero. The act of honoring those who have given so much will include Sporting KC’s “Military Family of the Match” tradition being expanded to pay tribute to all of the Gold Star families in attendance, who will be honored on the field prior to kickoff.
Lastly, Sporting KC is honored to host commanders and or their representatives from military bases across Kansas and Missouri, including Whiteman Air Force Base, Ft. Riley, Ft. Leavenworth, the Kansas National Guard and the Missouri National Guard.