"This Week in Sporting," presented by The Smile Generation, is a weekly series that highlights the biggest storylines and news updates from Sporting Kansas City. To visit the series archive, click here.
1. Black History Month
As the calendar flips from January to February, Sporting Kansas City will join Major League Soccer and the rest of the country for a 28-day celebration of Black History Month. Over the next four weeks, Sporting will highlight and reflect upon the athletes, community leaders and fellow Kansas Citians who have pushed the club, the city and the entire nation forward.
Be sure to follow @SportingKC on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for the latest content tied to Black History Month. Additionally, supporters can click here for an ever-growing and comprehensive guide to Black-owned across the metropolitan area, courtesy of Made in Kansas City.
2. Benny's Back
Sporting Kansas City announced last week that longtime midfielder and MLS All-Star Benny Feilhaber has returned as a member of the club’s technical staff ahead of the 2021 season. In addition, Sporting has hired Randi Lininger and Eric Schwartz as Assistant Athletic Trainers for the first team.
Feilhaber ended his professional playing career last March, retiring after 15 seasons across Major League Soccer, the German Bundesliga, English Premier League and Danish Superliga. He notably won the 2013 MLS Cup and the 2015 and 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups with Sporting and represented the United States internationally, lifting the 2007 Concacaf Gold Cup and competing at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
3. Warehouse Sale
Sporting Kansas City fans can kick off 2021 in style when Children's Mercy Park hosts the annual SportingStyle Warehouse Sale on Saturday. In addition to stocking up on a variety of Sporting merchandise at up to 50% off, guests will have the opportunity to shop a wide range of Children's Mercy Park furniture, decor and more.
The SportingStyle Warehouse Sale will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. inside the Sporting Bay on the west side of the stadium. Parking will be available in the Red Lot. For a parking map and directions, click here. As an added bonus, supporters who RSVP to the event will receive a free tour of Children's Mercy Park on the day of the sale. Tours will take place at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
4. Host City Timeline
FIFA announced last week a confirmation of the timeline for the next stage of the venue selection process for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in Canada, Mexico and the United States, subject to any restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. Kansas City is one of 17 candidate host cities in the United States in consideration to host matches for the monumental event. FIFA aims to have the host cities appointed by the FIFA Council in the last quarter of 2021.
5. Springtime Start
MLS announced on Jan. 25 that the 2021 season is scheduled to start April 3, with each club playing 34 regular season games, followed by the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. MLS Cup is on Dec. 11. The targeted start date is contingent on MLS and the MLS Players Association coming to terms on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, with further updates expected to emerge this week. To learn more about the ongoing CBA discussions, click here.
6. Snippets of SKC II
Led by head coach Paulo Nagamura, Sporting Kansas City II have been busy at work preparing for the 2021 USL Championship campaign. Last week, the club signed Sporting KC Academy product Jahon Rad to a fully professional contract before adding 19-year-old U.S. youth international Travian Sousa. Today, SKC II announced the appointment of former player Darrin MacLeod as goalkeeper coach.