Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen directs his team during the first half against the Colorado Rapids in an MLS soccer playoff game Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011, in Commerce City, Colo.. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)
(April 5, 2013) - Sporting Club and the U.S. Soccer Federation announced on Friday that the two organizations have agreed to a memorandum of understanding to jointly explore bringing a new National Training and Coaching Development Center to Kansas City, Kan. Together they are studying a proposed project that would be designed to develop a world-class soccer training facility and serve as the premier destination in the United States for player, coaching and referee innovation.
The three initiatives of the National Training and Coaching Development Center would be world-class infrastructure, education and youth development. The mission is to vertically integrate a system of physiological, technical, scientific, psychological and information-driven development for players, coaches and referees of all ages.
There are more than 20,000 licensed soccer coaches in the United States and nearly 150,000 soccer officials across the country. U.S. Soccer, which is celebrating its 100 Year Anniversary today, is committed to providing education resources and courses to foster consistent and quality instruction.
The state-of-the-art campus would be designed, developed and operated as a world-class training facility dedicated to the future of American soccer. At a projected cost of $50 million, the National Training and Coaching Development Center would host U.S. National Team camps, coaching education and referee development programming.
U.S. Soccer will also explore the feasibility of establishing futsal and/or small-sided soccer programming to be managed out of the National Training and Coaching Development Center.
The first step in the realization of the National Training and Coaching Development Center is to identify a site. By Monday, Sporting Club will issue a Request for Proposals to Wyandotte County land owners and real estate brokers in an effort to help identify the best available location for the National Training and Coaching Development Center.
Joe Reardon - Mayor/CEO of Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan.
"A national development center is a grand opportunity for us to build upon the great synergy and excitement we've experienced since the opening of Sporting Park. The partnership with U.S. Soccer and Sporting Club would help support our efforts to bring quality youth soccer programs across all of Kansas City, Kansas and further enhance our reputation as a city with world-class sports facilities. We have been diligently working with Sporting Club as they developed this revolutionary concept, and with this announcement, it looks to be well worth the wait. We look forward to hearing more details about the impacts in the coming days and weeks."
Todd LaSala, Chairman of the Board, Kansas City Kansas Chamber of Commerce
"We welcome U.S. Soccer to Kansas City, Kansas with open arms. It makes perfect sense to have the National Training and Coaching Development Center locate in KCK, which is now home to one of the world's best new soccer-specific stadiums and a growing community of rabid professional soccer fans. The KCK Chamber will be actively looking for opportunities to help U.S. Soccer succeed in this market and to leverage the obvious synergies and economic development benefits that will result from having these world-class facilities in our city."
Robb Heineman - Sporting Club CEO
"While it is certainly a great honor that the Federation is considering Kansas City, it is also a great recognition of the community's support of soccer. The National Training and Coaching Development Center would bring tens of thousands of hotel room nights and the futsal component has the potential to have a significant, long-term impact on youth development in our sport. We saw Matt Besler become the first player born in Kansas to play for the U.S. Men's National Team earlier this year. We hope to see more players represent Kansas City in the future. This project has both immediate, ongoing economic benefits and the potential for an incredible long-term benefit. The development center would place Kansas City at the center of soccer conversation, both nationally and worldwide."
About U.S. Soccer
Founded in 1913, U.S. Soccer is the non-for-profit, governing body of soccer in the United States and has helped chart the course for the game for 100 years. During this time, the Federation's mission statement has been clear and simple: to make soccer, in all its forms, a pre-eminent sport in the United States and to continue the development of soccer at all recreational and competitive levels. To that end, the sport's development and growth in the United States during the past 25 years has been nothing short of remarkable as U.S. Soccer's National Teams have continually succeeded on the world stage and, with the assistance of its members, the fan support and participation in the game continues to reach new heights. For more information, visit ussoccer.com.
About Sporting Club
Sporting Club is owned by a group of local Kansas City business and community leaders comprised of Neal Patterson, Cliff Illig, Pat Curran, Greg Maday and Robb Heineman. Its flagship Major League Soccer property, Sporting Kansas City, is the only locally owned professional sports team in the city and the club prides itself on its commitment and vision to provide high-performance entertainment and consumer experiences. Sporting Club purchased the team from the Hunt Sports Group in 2006, and under their direction have opened a world-class training center at Swope Park and state-of-the-art, award-winning Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., while investing in the Sporting KC Academy for developing local youth into homegrown talent. Sporting Kansas City is in its 18th season as a charter member of Major League Soccer and has finished in first place in the Eastern Conference each of the last two seasons. The team will represent Major League Soccer in the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League as winners of the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and Sporting Park will host the 2013 MLS All-Star Game on July 31.