This Week in Sporting: Jan. 31, 2020

"This Week in Sporting" is a biweekly series that highlights the biggest storylines and news updates from Sporting Kansas City. To visit the series archive, click here.


1. Tuned In

Sporting Kansas City announced Thursday that former forward Jacob Peterson has joined the club’s broadcast team on FOX Sports Kansas City, which will again serve as the exclusive television home for Sporting in 2020. FOX Sports Kansas City is slated to televise 31 MLS regular season matches this year, with Peterson joining as color analyst alongside play-by-play announcer Nate Bukaty and sideline reporter Carter Augustine.

2. Pub Partners

Sporting Kansas City has announced the club’s official pub partners for the 2020 season, consisting of 15 soccer-friendly destinations across the Kansas City area and Wichita. This network of pubs will cater to Sporting Kansas City supporters on every away matchday, featuring food and drink specials, VIP and enter-to-win opportunities, mascot appearances, raffles and prize giveaways.

3. Fond of Port Fonda

Sporting Kansas City announced Wednesday a partnership with Port Fonda, continuing the club’s commitment to providing new and improved local food and drink options for fans at Children’s Mercy Park during the 2020 season. Nationally acclaimed for its authentic Mexican cuisine, Port Fonda will be prominently placed inside the newly renovated Shield Club with a rotating menu that will include Port Fonda favorites like the chimichanga of the match, esquite asado and the Roselle Margarita.

4. Technical Staff Promotions

Sporting Kansas City has announced the promotions of two members on the club’s technical staff, appointing Joey Harty as Director of Sports Performance and Science and Alphonso Thompson as Head of Strength and Conditioning.

Harty, formerly Sporting’s assistant fitness coach from 2018-2019, will manage all aspects of the club’s performance department from the academy to the senior team. He will also oversee day-to-day training plans on and off the field, including work in the weight room, soccer session planning, on-field movement training, data analysis and more, aiming to optimize player health and performance.

After serving as the Sporting KC Academy strength and conditioning coach last year, Thompson will carry the same role for the first team in 2020. Thompson will assist Harty with the same objectives as they work in tandem alongside Sporting’s medical staff.

5. Number Shuffling

A few weeks after confirming jersey number updates for six players—three newcomers and three returnees—Sporting announced five more updates on Tuesday. At the forefront, Chilean midfielder and 2019 leading scorer Felipe Gutierrez will wear No. 10 after donning No. 21 during his first two seasons in Kansas City. The No. 21 shirt will instead be worn by a different Felipe in 2020 with 21-year-old Homegrown midfielder Felipe Hernandez upgrading from No. 85.

Elsewhere, newly acquired left back Amadou Dia will wear his preferred lucky No. 13. In turn, Sporting KC Academy product and U.S. youth international Gianluca Busio will switch from No. 13 to No. 27. Lastly, newly acquired Israeli midfielder Gadi Kinda will wear No. 17.

6. Vermes Verbatim

With several training sessions plus a 90-minute scrimmage in the books, Sporting Kansas City Manager and Sporting Director Peter Vermes has had ample time to assess his team as it prepares for the 2020 MLS regular season. Nearing the end of the first leg of Sporting’s 2020 preseason, presented by Children’s Mercy, SportingKC.com caught up with Vermes to provide an update from camp in Scottsdale, Arizona.

7. Sporting Job Fair on Saturday

Sporting Kansas City will host a job fair this Saturday, Feb. 1, inside the Budweiser Brew House at Children's Mercy Park.The job fair will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  CT, offering guests the chance to explore career opportunities with Sporting Kansas City's matchday team. Job fair parking will be available at Nebraska Furniture Mart across the street from Children's Mercy Park. Guests can enter through the Budweiser Brew House on the northeast side of the stadium. For more information, click here.

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