On This Day presented by UMKC - June 9, 2020

On This Day presented by UMKC: The inauguration of Children's Mercy Park

On This Day presented by UMKC takes daily strolls down memory lane and celebrates memorable moments in Sporting Kansas City history. As one of Major League Soccer's proud charter members, Sporting has a decorated past full of thrilling victories, amazing goals, momentous off-the-field developments and more. This series pays tribute to these specific instances, turning back the clocks while treating fans to nostalgia and club history lessons. For more, visit SportingKC.com/OnThisDay.

Nine years ago today, one of North America's most heralded soccer cathedrals opened its doors for the first time.

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. Sporting also used the stadium as a catalyst for improvement, as the club completed a stunning transformation from MLS afterthought to perennial title contender and model franchise.

Under the guidance of Manager Peter Vermes, Sporting won four major championships and made eight consecutive playoff appearances from 2011-2018. Three of the four championship wins took place at Children's Mercy Park, namely MLS Cup 2013 and the 2012 and 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Finals.