Sporting KC Weekly Update: February 5, 2014

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

Sporting KC Weekly Update: February 5, 2014

WIN A DATE WITH C.J. SAPONG
With Valentine's Day on the horizon, Sporting Kansas City is hosting their rendition of The Bachelor starring C.J. Sapong and hosted by Jimmy Conrad. Four lucky contestants will be selected to join the Google+ hangout, scheduled to take place on Feb. 13. Of the four contestants, one winner will be awarded a Sporting KC prize pack and a coffee date with Sapong at The Roasterie.

Sign up for your chance to win: http://bit.ly/LsYpzV

SPORTING KC DRAWS PORTLAND TIMBERS IN PRE-SEASON
Sporting Kansas City earned a 1-1 draw against the Portland Timbers in the club's second pre-season match of 2014 on Saturday at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz. despite playing with 10 men for the final 57 minutes of the match.

Sal Zizzo gave Sporting KC the 1-0 lead in the 31st minute of the match against his former club. Zizzo was able to re-direct Claudio Bieler's service and find the back of the net.

Aurelien Collin was ejected shortly after Zizzo's goal for his second reckless tackle of the match. Despite playing a man down, Sporting KC was able to maintain the one-goal lead until the 84th minute when Portland's Schillo Tshuma chipped Andy Gruenebaum to level the match at 1-1.

SPORTING KC TO FACE INDY ELEVEN ON FRIDAY
Sporting Kansas City will take on North American Soccer League expansion side Indy Eleven on Friday at 3 p.m. CT at Kino Sports Complex, marking their final pre-season game in Arizona before returning to Kansas City.

Indy Eleven plays the Vancouver Whitecaps FC this afternoon and also the Portland Timbers on Feb. 12.

PLAYER AVAILABILITY NEXT WEEK
Sporting Kansas City returns to Kansas City and will train on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Indoor Training Facility at Arrowhead Stadium. Training will begin at 10 a.m. CT with media availability immediately following the conclusion of training. Please email mdreska@sportingkc.com by close of business on Friday to RSVP for training.

SOONY SAAD TO JOIN LEBANON MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM
Sporting Kansas City forward Soony Saad will join the Lebanon Men's National Team for a friendly vs. Pakistan on Feb. 19 and an AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Thailand on March 5. Saad will join the squad next week ahead of their friendly vs. Pakistan and will re-join Sporting KC following their Asian Cup qualifier at Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok. Read more.

BESLER, FEILHABER AND ZUSI FEATURE FOR USMNT
Sporting Kansas City players Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and Benny Feilhaber all earned appearances in the U.S. Men's National Team's 2-0 victory over Korea Republic on Saturday. Zusi played a crucial role in both of the USMNT's goals, ultimately finished by Chris Wondolowski. All three players have joined Sporting Kansas City in Tucson, Ariz. for pre-season in advance of the club's match against Indy Eleven on Friday.

PALMER-BROWN STARTS FOR U.S. U18 MNT IN SPAIN
Erik Palmer-Brown played 180 minutes for the U.S. U18 MNT over the last two days in a pair of 2014 Copa del Atlantico matches. The U18's played Spain on Tuesday in a match that remained scoreless until the 88th minute. Midfielder Yelko Pino Caride put Spain on the board late to hand the U.S. their first defeat of the tournament.

Palmer-Brown and the U18's suffered another tough 1-0 loss today against the Argentina U20's. The U.S. U18's have one game remaining on Friday against Canary Islands.

2014 OPEN TRYOUTS WILL TAKE PLACE ON JUNE 21 AND 22
Sporting KC hosts Open Tryouts once a year for the first 200 players (18 years and older) that apply. The Open Tryouts are held during the beginning of the summer transfer window for one weekend in June. This is the best opportunity to be seen by the Sporting Kansas City technical staff for evaluation.

The tryout fee is $258 and participants will pay for ALL airfare, hotel, food and transportation. Registration for this event and all other information regarding the 2014 Open Tryouts can be found here.

ACADEMY TO HOST SPECIAL EVENTS AT THREE POINTS CLUB ON MONDAY
Sporting Kansas City Academy players will be recognized at the Three Points Club (1511 Baltimore, Kansas City MO 64108) on Monday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. CT after their college commitments were announced earlier today. Appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages will be served and the MLS Cup will be on display at the event. Players in attendance:

Darby Cronin (Missouri-Kansas City)
Andrew Dittemore (Missouri State)
Andy Ericks (Colorado School of Mines)
Mason Leonard (Drake)
Blake Levine (Baker)
Matthew Lewis (Fordham)
Joey Piatczyc (West Virginia)
Cole Stevenson (Denver)
Austin Williamson (Northeastern State University)
Zach Wright (North Carolina)

Sporting Kansas City Academy DOC Jon Parry and Head Fitness Coach David McKay will be in attendance. Sporting Kansas City midfielder and University of San Diego graduate Christian Duke will also attend the ceremony. Media interested in attending should park in the gravel lot behind the building or on the street in front of the offices on Baltimore Avenue.

SPORTING KC SINGLE-GAME TICKETS ON SALE VIA TICKETMASTER
Sinlge-game tickets for Sporting KC's first nine home matches of the 2014 season at Sporting Park went on sale to the general public on Monday via Ticketmaster.com. The first nine matches include Sporting KC's CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal match vs. Cruz Azul (March 12), the MLS home opener vs. FC Dallas (March 15) and the MLS Cup rematch vs. Real Salt Lake (April 5).

Individual match tickets for fixtures in the opening three months of Sporting KC's 2014 home schedule - beginning with the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Cruz Azul on March 12 and continuing through the showdown with Supporters' Shield holders New York Red Bulls on May 27 - can be secured here.

SPORTING KC PARTNERS WITH THE ROASTERIE FOR NEW COFFEE
Sporting Kansas City and The Roasterie announced a strategic partnership for the release of Sporting Blend. The brand new coffee blend is now available at each of three The Roasterie Cafes and The Roasterie's more than 75 grocery partners, and will also be sold at Sporting Park for Sporting Kansas City home games during the 2014 season.

Marketed as "smooth and satisfying, like the sweet taste of vicroty," Sporting Blend is a premium quality French (medium) roast with origins in Brazil, Ethiopia and Sumatra. The blend's one-of-a-kind tast is tailored for a flavor profile described as delicate and pleasing brightness with a sweet, mesquite-like aftertaste. Find more on the new partnership here.

SPORTING KC SELECTS FOUR IN MLS SUPERDRAFT
Sporting KC selected four college seniors in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, beginning with the selection of Adnan Gabeljic with the 38th overall pick. Gabeljic is a 21-year-old forward out of St. Louis University and was joined in the team's draft class yesterday by defender Peter Schmetz, midfielder Alex Martinez and forward Reinaldo Brenes.

Schmetz, a 6'6 left-footed centerback, led the University of California Santa Barbara to a top 25 finish in 2013 and a No. 10 national seed in the NCAA Tournament. Martinez, a 22-year-old All-ACC selection, began his collegiate career at High Point before transferring to North Carolina State University after his sophomore season. Brenes was a team captain and two-time All-MAC selection at the University of Akron. After winning a national championship in his freshman season, Brenes led the Zips in scoring as a junior and senior. All four draftees are with Sporting KC in Tucson, Ariz. for the pre-season.

FIVE FORMER PLAYERS AMONG HALL OF FAME CLASS NOMINEES
Five former KC players are among the National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2014 nominees announced by the U.S. Soccer Federation. Chris Henderson and Chris Klein are eligible on the Player Ballot while Mike Burns, Frank Klopas and Mike Sorber are in contention on the Veteran Ballot. Read more on the nominees here.

SPORTING KC STAFF HONORED AT MLS CLUB EXECUTIVE AWARDS
Major League Soccer held it's annual Club Executive Awards Ceremony in conjunction with the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) annual convention in Philadelphia, Penn.

Sporting Kansas City and its employees collected the following awards for outstanding achievements in 2013:

Public Relations Team of the Year, accepted by Rob Thomson (Executive Vice President of Communications/Digital)
Ticket Sales Team of the Year, accepted by Gregg Allen (Vice President of Ticket Sales and Service)
Commissioner's Club (12,000+) for Full Season Tickets, accepted by Jordan Kelsey (Sales Manager)
Commissioner's Club (90%+) for Full Season Ticket Renewals, accepted by Matt Evans (Director, Client Services) and Amesha Tate (Manager, Premium Services)
All Rookie (175+ New FSEs) for New Season Tickets: Josh Frishberg (Account Executive)
Bronze Threshold (300-399 New FSEs) for New Season Tickets: Beth Brittain, Zack Robinson and Casey Miles (Senior Account Executives)
Bronze Threshold (10,000-14,999) for Group Tickets: Chris Flynn (Manager, Group Sales) and Zack Robinson (Senior Account Executive)

SPORTING KC 2014 PRE-SEASON SCHEDULE
Sporting KC is in Tucson, Ariz. for the first of two phases of preparation leading into the 2014 MLS campaign. For the fourth straight year, Sporting Kansas City returns to the Old Pueblo and has one exhibition match remaining at the Kino Sports Complex:

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 2for 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 are now on sale via Ticketmaster.

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.

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 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.

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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