Over the last 10 years, few professional sports franchises have experienced a more transformational journey than Sporting Kansas City. From Wizards to Sporting, from minor league baseball park to world-class soccer stadium, from MLS afterthought to perennial title contender, the 2010s ushered in a Kansas City soccer renaissance as Sporting enjoyed a meteoric rise both on and off the pitch.
Throughout this decade of success, everyone tied to the club—from players and coaches to owners and fans—made priceless memories that will last a lifetime. As the 2010s come to a close, SportingKC.com is counting down the top 20 moments of the decade. The daily series will run from Dec. 12-31, looking back on the biggest matches, announcements and off-the-field developments that left lasting impacts on the club. The top 20 list was determined through voting among front office associates at Sporting. Click here to visit the top 20 as it unfolds.
Alas, the opening chapter of one of North America's most heralded soccer cathedrals.
After years of anticipation and 10 straight away games to kick off the MLS season, Sporting Kansas City opened its new stadium to rave reviews as an over-capacity crowd of 19,925 filled Children's Mercy Park for its inaugural match on June 9, 2011.
Almost instantly, the state-of-the-art venue helped Sporting set a path toward long-term growth and success and gave Kansas City a crown jewel worthy of hosting elite international matches.
The inaugural game ended in a scoreless draw against the Chicago Fire, but the moments leading to kickoff remain some of the most powerful in stadium history. After playing 12 years at a cavernous football stadium and three more at a minor league baseball stadium, Sporting had a soccer-specific home of its own.
In the nine years since, Children's Mercy Park has welcomed hundreds of thousands of fans for the country’s biggest soccer matches and hosted championships at the college, professional and international levels. There's simply no place else like it.