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)
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City has partnered with OKC Energy FC and Orlando City FC to be its USL PRO affiliates for the 2014 season, while former goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen will serve as head coach of the Oklahoma City club.
Nielsen announced his retirement two days after Sporting KC beat Real Salt Lake to win its first MLS Cup since 2000. The expansion team in Oklahoma City will be his first coaching job.
The affiliate deal means that Sporting KC will loan a minimum of two players to each USL PRO team next season. It's the second year of a two-year partnership with Orlando City, which will transition to Major League Soccer for the 2015 season.
Sporting KC loaned six players to Orlando City last season.