Sporting KC Weekly Update: January 15, 2014

By: Sporting Kansas City PR
By: Sporting Kansas City PR

Sporting KC Weekly Update: January 15, 2014

SPORTING KC ANNOUNCES FULL 2014 PRE-SEASON SCHEDULE
Sporting KC will travel to Tucson, Ariz. for training and exhibition matches before competing in the 2014 Disney Pro Soccer Classic in Orlando, Fla. Manager Peter Vermes will have six weeks of preparation ahead of the 2014 campaign.

For the fourth straight year, Sporting Kansas City returns to the Old Pueblo from Jan. 24 thru Feb. 8 to train at the Kino Sports Complex with three exhibition matches scheduled during the initial phase of pre-season.

Jan. 28: vs. FC Tucson (PDL) at 12 p.m. in Tucson
Feb. 1: vs. Portland Timbers (MLS) at 7 p.m. in Tucson
Feb. 7: vs. Indy Eleven (NASL) at 12 p.m. in Casa Grande

Sporting Kansas City will travel to Central Florida from Feb. 14 thru March 2 for the team's participation in the 2014 Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic, an eight-team pre-season tournament held annually at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Fla.

Feb. 19: vs. New York Red Bulls (MLS) at 2 p.m. in Kissimmee
Feb. 22: vs. Fluminense FC U23 (Brazil) at p.m. in Kissimmee
Feb. 26: vs. Montreal Impact (MLS) at 7 p.m. in Kissimmee
CONCACAF TIMES AND DATES SET FOR CCL QUARTERFINAL
Sporting Kansas City's quarterfinal series with Mexico's Cruz Azul in the 2013-14 CONCACAF will take place at 7 p.m. CT on Wednesday, March 12 at Sporting Park (leg one) and 9 p.m. CT on Wednesday, March 19 at Estadio Azul (leg two) CONCACAF announced. Tickets for the opening leg at Sporting Park are included in Sporting Kansas City's 2014 full season ticket member packages and individual tickets for the match-up will go on sale later this month.

Sporting Kansas City advanced to the championship stage of the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League as Group 2 winners and the seventh overall seed in the competition. The club is paired with Cruz Azul from Liga MX, the tournament's second seed after a perfect 4-0-0 record in Group 3. Read more on CCL here.

SPORTING KC SENDS FIVE TO BRAZIL IN NEW PHASE OF USMNT CAMP
Jurgen Klinsman elected to bring all 26 players in the U.S. Men's National Team's annual January camp to Brazil, where the team will train for 12 days as part of a "dry run" for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Sporting Kansas City is represented by defenders Matt Besler, Chance Myers and Seth Sinovic as well as attacking players Graham Zusi and Benny Feilhaber. Among the 26 players selected by Klinsmann, Sporting Kansas City's five representatives are the most from any club following the team's MLS Cup championship season.

The team is based at the training site of Sao Paulo FC, one of the premier facilities in Brazil and the host of the U.S. base camp this summer. In addition to daily sessions, the U.S. will hold two closed-door scrimmages during the visit.

The camp culminates with a friendly against the Korea Republic on Feb. 1 in Carson, Calif. Kickoff at StubHub Center is set for 4 p.m. CT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, WatchESPN and UniMas. Fans can also follow the match live on Twitter @ussoccer.

2014 MLS SUPERDRAFT BEGINS ON THURSDAY
The 2014 MLS SuperDraft, presented by adidas, begins at 11 a.m. CT on Thursday live on ESPNews from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) convention in Philadelphia. Sporting KC currently holds the 38th overall pick.

The final two rounds of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, presented by adidas, will be conducted via conference call on Tuesday, Jan. 21. Sporting KC currently holds the No. 41, No. 57 and No. 76 overall selections.

SPORTING KC JOINS SNAPCHAT
Sporting Kansas City announced last week that it has joined Snapchat, one of the fastest growing social media networks. The platform, which was launched in early 2011, allows a brand or user to send photo or video messages to their friends who follow them on Snapchat.

With prior success on channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., Sporting KC will now look to Snapchat to expand its reach and provide a different digital experience for its fan base.

ACADEMY'S COLIN INNES ON 17-PLAYER ROSTER FOR TOUR OF ITALY
Colin Innes, a member of Sporting Kansas City's Under-14 Academy team, was named to the roster for US Club Soccer's id2 National Selection International Tour on Wednesday. The Olathe, Kan. native is one of 17 players selected for a trip to Italy from Feb. 27 thru March 10.

The id2 National Selection International Tour is the final programming element of the id2 Program cycle targeting boys born in 2000. During the tour, the team will have the opportunity to train, attend games and compete against youth teams from well-known professional clubs while gaining a unique educational and cultural experience.

The traveling party will arrive in Northern New Jersey on Feb. 27 for a brief domestic base camp before departing to Italy the evening of Feb. 28. After spending the initial portion of the trip in Florence, the squad will transfer to Milan and return to American soil on March 10.

A challenging schedule awaits the squad, with games scheduled against the Giovanissimi Regionali squads of ACF Fiorentina (March 4), Inter Milan (March 6) and Juventus FC (March 7). The id2 National Selection International Tour players will also watch two Serie A professional matches: Lazio at ACF Fiorentina on March 2 and ACF Fiorentina at Juventus FC on March 9.

PALMER-BROWN RETURNS FROM TIME WITH U.S. U-18'S AND U-20'S
Sporting Kansas City homegrown defender Erik Palmer-Brown returned to Kansas City after featuring in three exhibition matches for the U.S. U-18 youth national team squad, opening the week with a 1-1 draw in an intrasquad scrimmage. The final two fixtures came against their U.S. U-17 counterparts, earning a 3-1 win (goals from Sebastian Elney, Ben Swanson and Jorge Ruiz) last Wednesday and a 3-2 victory (goals from Mukwelle Akale, Sebastian Saucedo and Sebastian Elney) on Friday. Watch highlights here.

Impressed by his performances, U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team head coach Tab Ramos added Palmer-Brown to his roster of 36 players holding camp concurrently. With his stay extended, Palmer-Brown garnered minutes for the winning side in an intrasquad scrimmage with the U-20's on Sunday to close out the camp on a successful note.

SKC TV NETWORK ADDS DIEGO GUTIERREZ TO BROADCAST TEAM
Sporting Kansas City announced that Diego Gutierrez will join the Sporting KC Television Network as a commentator alongside Callum Williams (play-by-play) and Jake Yadrich (sideline) for all locally televised matches on KMCI-TV during the 2014 season.

A Blue Springs High School graduate and two-time NSCAA All-American at Rockhurst University, Gutierrez began his 13-year MLS career in Kansas City as a club original in 1996 for the first of six seasons with the team. He recorded 13 goals and 46 assists in 316 career MLS matches (including postseason), earning MLS All-Star honors and a debut for the U.S. Men's National Team in 2001.

In 2004, Gutierrez captained Kansas City to the U.S. Open Cup championship and a berth in MLS Cup. He was a member of four U.S. Open Cup championship teams and won MLS Cup in 1998, scoring his first professional goal in the final. His 40 career playoff appearances rank third most in MLS history, and included starts in three MLS Cup finals.

SPORTING KC CROWNED MLS CUP CHAMPIONS
Sporting Kansas City prevailed in MLS Cup 2013 in a 10-round penalty shootout after regulation and two-15 minute extra time periods concluded in a 1-1 draw at Sporting Park on Dec. 7. The match was nationally broadcast on ESPN and UniMas.

Alvaro Saborio gave Real Salt Lake the first goal of the match in the 52nd minute of play, receiving a well-placed pass from teammate Kyle Beckerman. Collin equalized for Sporting KC in the 76th minute off a Graham Zusi corner kick. The goal was Collin's third during the MLS postseason, most among all players in the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Collin also notched the game-winning goal in the penalty shootout to secure the second league title in the team's 18-year history and a berth in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League. Collin was named the Volkswagen MLS Cup 2013 MVP.

MLS CUP TRIUMPH VOTED MOMENT OF THE YEAR
For the second consecutive year, a Sporting Kansas City championship at Sporting Park has been voted MLSsoccer.com Moment of the Year. In 2012, it was Sporting KC's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup win over the Seattle Sounders. In 2013, it was Sporting KC's MLS Cup win over Real Salt Lake.

The title match drew 34 percent of the final vote, followed by Portland's postseason win over Seattle (16 percent) and Clint Dempsey being introduced in Seattle (11 percent). Read more here.

SPORTING KC SIGNS ERIC KRONBERG TO NEW CONTRACT
Sporting Kansas City announced that goalkeeper Eric Kronberg has signed a new contract with the club. Per team policy, terms of the agreement will not be disclosed.

Kronberg, 30, enters his ninth season with the club in 2014 and is the longest tenured player on the Sporting Kansas City roster. Kronberg has remained with his current club longer than any active MLS goalkeeper and only one player (Davy Arnaud) in club history has been with the team for more than nine seasons.

SPORTING KC ADDS SECOND USL PRO AFFILIATE IN 2014
Sporting Kansas City announced that the club will partner with two USL PRO teams for the 2014 season, adding a one-year agreement with OKC Energy FC to join Orlando City SC as an official USL PRO affiliate of Sporting KC. A minimum of two Sporting Kansas City players will be loaned to each USL PRO team throughout the season as part of the agreements.

Additionally, former Sporting Kansas City captain Jimmy Nielsen will serve as the head coach of OKC Energy FC in their expansion season in 2014. Nielsen retired after a 19-year playing career that culminated with an MLS Cup championship at Sporting Park.

SPORTING KC ACQUIRES ANDY GRUENEBAUM AND SAL ZIZZO
Sporting Kansas City has acquired goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum from the Columbus Crew in exchange for Sporting KC's second round pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. Gruenebaum has been added to Sporting Kansas City's roster and will occupy a senior roster spot.

Gruenebaum, 30, made 82 appearances in MLS competition (including playoffs) with 277 saves, 18 shutouts and a 1.27 goals against average in eight seasons with the Crew. He led MLS with 124 saves in 2012 and was a finalist for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year after being named the Crew's MVP and Defender of the Year. In 2013, Gruenebaum conceded the second fewest goals (28) among goalkeepers with a minimum of 15 games played.

Additionally, Sporting Kansas City has acquired midfielder Sal Zizzo from the Portland Timbers FC in exchange for allocation money. Zizzo has been added to Sporting Kansas City's roster and will occupy a senior roster spot.

In four MLS seasons, the 26-year-old Zizzo has made 70 appearances with two goals and eight assists while playing for Chivas USA (2010) and Portland (2011-2013). He entered MLS through a weighted lottery in July 2010 after spending his first three seasons as a professional with Hannover 96 in Germany's Bundesliga.

KANSAS CITY TO HOST 14 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
Sporting Park and Swope Soccer Village will host 13 championships over the next four years:

2014 Division III (M&W) Soccer: Dec. 5-6 at Swope Soccer Village
2014 Division II Football: Dec. 20 at Sporting Park
2015 Division III (M&W) Soccer: Dec. 4-5 at Swope Soccer Village
2015 Division I Men's Soccer: Dec. 11-13 at Sporting Park
2015 Division II Football: Dec. 19 at Sporting Park
2016 Division II (M&W) Soccer: Dec. 1-3 at Swope Soccer Village
2016 Division II Football: Dec. 17 at Sporting Park
2017 Division II (M&W) Soccer: Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at Swope Soccer Village
2017 Division I Women's Volleyball: Dec. 14-16 at Sprint Center
2017 Division II Football: Dec. 16 at Sporting Park
CONSTRUCTION ON PHASE II OF SWOPE SOCCER VILLAGE BEGINS
Construction on Phase II of Swope Soccer Village's $13.44 million expansion has begun to prepare for the development of five new synthetic soccer fields. Located at 63rd and Lewis Rd. in Kansas City's Swope Park, the Swope Soccer Village will be home to nine full-sized soccer fields and facilities upon the project's completion later this year.

In May, a $13.44 million expansion to the Swope Soccer Village was formally approved by the City Council. Four months after breaking ground, the complex's natural grass championship field - the first of six new fields as part of the expansion - opened in November and hosted the 2013 Big 12 Soccer Championship. The conference's postseason tournament will again be played at the Swope Soccer Village in 2014.

The five new synthetic fields will be built on the east side of Lewis Rd. and will each be furnished with lighting and fencing. Grand Construction serves as the general contractor and Sporting Club Network member Brookside Soccer Club will act as a primary tenant. The development will also provide additional infrastructure updates, including new restroom, concession and storage amenities.

MLS Cup champions Sporting Kansas City opened the team's training center at the Swope Soccer Village in 2007 with over 7,800 square feet of facility space and three soccer fields. The Sporting KC Academy, Sporting Club Network members and numerous community outreach programs utilize the existing four fields at the complex.

SPORTING KC RELEASES 2014 MLS SCHEDULE
Sporting KC released the club's 34-game regular season schedule for the 2014 Major League Soccer season.

SportingKC.com: Team's full 2014 MLS Schedule
Sporting Kansas City is currently taking deposits for the 2014 season ticket member waiting list. The non-refundable deposits are $150 per seat for premium areas and $50 per seat for all other section. Groups of 20 or more can also place deposits, starting at $300, to secure priority consideration for preferred seating areas, game dates and hospitality options ahead of the general public. Single-game ticket information will be released at a later date.

38 THE SPOT (KMCI) NAMED SPORTING KC'S NEW LOCAL TV PARTNER
Every Sporting Kansas City regular season MLS match will again be shown live in 2014. KMCI-TV (38 the Spot) will serve as the team's new local broadcast partner and will carry all non-nationally televised regular season matches. Owned by Scripps Media, Inc., KCMI's plans include pre-game and post-game shows, as well as select Sporting Kansas City programing to air on sister station KSHB-TV (Kansas City's NBC affiliate).

SECURE 2014 SEASON TICKETS AT SPORTING PARK
Sporting Kansas City is now taking deposits for new season ticket members for the 2014 season at state-of-the-art Sporting Park. The non-refundable deposits are $150 per seat for premium areas and $50 per seat for all other sections and provide fans with priority position for securing full season tickets in 2014.

Additionally, all fans on the Sporting Kansas City season ticket member waiting list will be given access to pre-sale opportunities for select special events at Sporting Park (subject to availability).

FOLLOW SPORTING KC ONLINE
Sporting Kansas City fans looking to keep up with the club on the worldwide web now have a place to go. The social media page on SportingKC.com features Twitter account information for the club, its players as well as many staff members. Additionally, fans may take advantage of the Media Recap page for all the latest independent news coverage available online.

Leading up to the start of the 2014 season, fans can visit SportingKC.com/preseason for the team's Preseason Guide and SportingKC.com/tracker for a compilation of player transactions throughout the offseason.


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