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Kansas City Kansas Community College’s 24-man soccer team, the biggest in college history, will kick off the 2014 season Thursday, Sept. 4, with the Lady Blue Devils playing host to Coffeyville at 5 p.m. with the men following at 7 p.m. (KCKCC photo)

Kansas City Kansas Community College’s 24-man soccer team, the biggest in college history, will kick off the 2014 season Thursday, Sept. 4, with the Lady Blue Devils playing host to Coffeyville at 5 p.m. with the men following at 7 p.m. (KCKCC photo)

by Alan Hoskins

Kansas City Kansas Community College will kick off the 2014 soccer season Thursday short on experience but long on numbers, versatility and optimism.

“We may be young on paper but I think we will be a team that will play at a higher level than our age may suggest,” said first-year assistant coach Burke Slusher.

Without a returning letterman, third-year head coach Ruben Rodriguez and Slusher will rebuild the Blue Devil men’s fortunes around the biggest recruiting class ever – 22 freshmen and two sophomores.

“As a whole, this is a pretty skillful group that can make up for a lack of experience by taking care of the ball,” Slusher said. “We’re solid at midfield and fast and with age comes additional speed and strength. We hope to make teams chase us.”

While in his first year at KCKCC, Slusher is certainly not without teaching experience. An assistant at William Jewell last year, he’s also coached the Kansas City Brass in the Premier Development League for the past 12 years.

Jayhawk Conference rival Coffeyville will be the foe in the 2014 home opening Thursday, Sept. 4. The women’s opener will kick off at 5 p.m. with the men to follow at 7 p.m. in just the second year of play on KCKCC’s new soccer field.

With a wealth of candidates, there’s competition at every starting position beginning with goal keeper where Javier DeLara of Harmon and Sean McCulloch of Park Hill South are waging a fierce battle for the opener..

Defensively, the Blue Devils are expected to build around freshmen Kelvin Ibarra of Cristo Rey, Great Ubochi of Ocoee, Fla., and Colin Dujakovich of Shawnee Mission North with Dylan Stroud of Shawnee Mission North, Lucas Franco of Bishop Miege and Jorge Ambriz of Dodge City all in the mix for starting positions. Other hopefuls include Nicholas Marquez of Bishop Miege, Joseph Gomez of Washington and Robert Glenn III of Bonner Springs.

Marcos Alejandro of Turner heads a deep midfield corps that also includes Isaias DeLaTorre and Juan Negrete of Dodge City, Chue Yang of Turner, Rony Naz Tum of Guymon, Okla.; and two players from England, Harry Williams of Derbyshire and Jahren Barrow of Nottingham. Other possibilities include Robert Gurrola of Schlagle, Quinton Schneck of Bonner Springs, Gustavo Siguad of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Carlos Wilches of Baristan, Venezuela.

“We’re strong at midfield where we hopefully can control the game,” Slusher noted.

Isai Gutierrez of Liberal and Mario Lopez of Dodge City are the forwards and could be used in tandem although some midfielders will be used as attackers.

“We could play from one to three forwards depending on the competition we’re playing,” Slusher said. “We’re lucky we have a very versatile group that can adjust to the competition we’re up against.”

Just five of KCKCC’s 11 contests are at home not counting playing in the Thunder Duck Tournament in Dallas, Texas, Oct. 3-4. In addition to Coffeyville Sept, 4, the Blue Devils will play host to Wentworth Military Academy Oct. 16, Neosho County Sept. 23, Cowley Sept. 30 and Pratt Oct. 17. All are evening contests.

Alan Hoskins is the sports information director at KCKCC.

2014 KCKCC Men’s Soccer schedule
Sept. 4 – COFFEYVILLE*, Home, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 – Barton County*, Away, 4 p.m.
Sept. 11 – Blue River, Away, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 19 – Cloud County*, Away, 4 p.m.
Sept. 23 – NEOSHO COUNTY*, Home, 8 p.m.
Sept. 26 – Blue River, away, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 – COWLEY*, Home, 8 p.m.
Oct. 3-5 – Thunder Duck Tournament, Dallas, Texas
Oct. 7 – Allen County*, Away, 4 p.m..
Oct. 14 – Johnson County*, Away, 3 p.m.
Oct. 17 – PRATT*, Home, 7 p.m.
Oct. 22 – Dodge City*, Away, TBA

2014 KCKCC Men’s Soccer roster

No. Ht. Yr. Pos. Hometown (High School)
0 Javier DeLara 5-11 Fr. K Kansas City, Kan. (Harmon)
1 Sean McCulloch 6-3 Fr. K Kansas City, Kan. (Park Hill South)
2 Colin Dujakovich 5-10 Fr. Def. Shawnee, Kan. (Shawnee Mission North)
3 Nicolas Marquez 5-11 Fr. Def. Overland Park, Kan. (Bishop Miege)
5 Jahren Barrow 6-3 Fr. Def. Nottingham, England (Emanuel)
6 Lucas Franco 5-9 Fr. MF Kansas City, Kan. (Bishop Miege)
7 Harry Williams 6-1 Fr. MF Derbyshire, England (Tibshelf)
8 Marcos Alejandro 6-1 So. MF Kansas City, Kan. (Turner)
9 Kelvin Ibarra 5-9 Fr. MF Kansas City, Kan. (Cristo Rey)
10 Isai Gutierrez 5-9 Fr. Fwd. Liberal, Kan. (21st Century Academy)
11 Mario Lopez 5-10 Fr. Fwd. Dodge City, Kan. (Dodge City)
13 Gustavo Sigaud 5-8 Fr. MF Sao Paulo, Brazil
14 Chue Yang 5-8 So. MF Kansas City, Kan. (Turner)
15 Joseph Gomez 5-5 Fr. Def. Kansas City, Kan. (Washington)
16 Jorge Ambriz 5-8 Fr. Def. Dodge City, Kan. (Dodge City)
17 Isaias DeLaTorre 6-3 Fr. MF Dodge City, Kan. (Dodge City)
18 Great Ubochi 6-3 Fr. Def. Ocoee, Fla. (Ocoee)
19 Roberto Gurrola 5-7 Fr. MF Kansas City, Kan. (Schlagle)
20 Juan Negrete 6-2 Fr. Def. Dodge City, Kan. (Dodge City)
22 Quinton Schneck 5-6 Fr. MF Bonner Springs, Kan. (Bonner Springs)
23 Carlos Wilches 5-9 Fr. MF Barinas, Venezuela (Cologio Don Bosco)
24 Robert Glenn III 6-2 Fr. Def. Bonner Springs, Kan. (Bonner Springs)
25 Rony Naz Tum 5-7 Fr. MF Guymon, Okla. (Guymon)
26 Dylan Stroud 5-10 Fr. Def. Overland Park, Kan. (Shanee Mission North)
Head coach – Ruben Rodriguez (third season)
Assistant coach – Burke Slusher (first season)

KCKCC President Doris Givens demonstrated how to use the new access system to the KCKCC track. (KCKCC photo)

KCKCC President Doris Givens demonstrated how to use the new access system to the KCKCC track. (KCKCC photo)

by Kelly Rogge

Kansas City Kansas Community College is back on track, the running track that is.

On Tuesday, Sept. 2, the track will reopen to the community.

The turnstile used by community walkers to access the track has been equipped with a lock that opens with a card issued by KCKCC. The system will allow the college to track the usage of the track and identify the frequency that walkers are using the athletic facility.

Michael Vitale, vice president of academic and student services at KCKCC, said the change is necessary due to some “misuse” of the facility. This includes multiple incidents of dogs, strollers and bikes on the track surface as well as unsupervised children climbing on the soccer goals and nets.

Both of KCKCC’s soccer teams practice on the soccer field, which the track surrounds. In addition, the track is used by the KCKCC track and field team.

“We made the change in access so community members could continue using the facility,” he said. “Allowing the community to continue using the facility helps promote good will between the community and the college. For several, this is the only location where they felt comfortable walking to help maintain their health.”

To use the track, patrons will need to obtain a Swipe-ID card, which will give them access to the track during the hours it is open to the public. To obtain a Swipe-ID card, walkers will need to bring a government-issued ID to the Campus Police, submit a completed application, pick up a copy of the track rules and have their picture taken for the identification card. The college is providing the first card for free. However, if it is lost or stolen, it will cost $25 to replace. All walkers will need their own identification card. Minors must have a parent or guardian’s signature. If they are 16 years or older, they must also have a government issued ID.

To accommodate those walking in the early mornings, the Campus Police department will be open at 5 a.m. Sept. 2 to issue Swipe-ID cards. Campus Police will have the following schedule for the remainder of September:
• 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday
• 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday

Community members can go by Campus Police during these hours to obtain an identification card. College employees who want to walk on the track will also need to obtain a card from Campus Police.

For more information about the new track usage system, contact Mike Vitale, vice president for academic and student services at 913-288-7100.

Kelly Rogge is the supervisor of public information at KCKCC.

KCKCC photo

KCKCC photo

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Marvin Hunt, dean of business and continuing education at KCKCC, stands in front of the newly renovated Innovation Center. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Aug. 27 to unveil the new facility on the KCKCC Campus. (KCKCC photo)

Marvin Hunt, dean of business and continuing education at KCKCC, stands in front of the newly renovated Innovation Center. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Aug. 27 to unveil the new facility on the KCKCC Campus. (KCKCC photo)

by Kelly Rogge

After months of renovations, Kansas City Kansas Community College is celebrating the opening of its new Innovation Center.

The Innovation Center is a space reserved for students and community members who want to learn about starting a business, get support for their innovation or ideas and dream about their entrepreneurial aspirations.

Located in Room 3619 in the Flint Building on the main KCKCC campus, 7250 State Ave., the space has multiple uses including a computer lab, conference space and an office space with smart board and data projection capabilities.

“Individuals using the space will benefit from support through consultation with faculty, staff and community experts,” said Marvin Hunt, dean of the business and continuing education department at KCKCC. “Setting aside a space for creativity and innovation activities aligns with KCKCC’s emerging entrepreneurial image in the greater community. I hope that the innovations that are born or grow in this space will surprise me and help me learn new ways in which individuals benefit.”

KCKCC held a ribbon-cutting and grand opening celebration Aug. 27 where members of the community as well as KCKCC students, staff and faculty were welcomed to look inside the Innovation Center to see what the space has to offer.

Hunt said one of the training and consultation opportunities the center will be holding is for startup businesses through the college’s affiliations with the Kansas Small Business Development Center, the Kauffman Foundation and the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurs.

“Workforce grows because new businesses are born and succeed. We want to contribute to this growth,” he said. “We will engage in development of new or midstream businesses, tech businesses and main street-lifestyle businesses. Also, I am very interested in learning more about how we can help people protect their intellectual innovations which power their business ventures.”

Hunt said the center started as a dream and a vision from KCKCC’s workforce team. He said the idea is to shift the focus toward entrepreneurism, along with a training competent.

The renovations were funded by a $40,000 grant from the Sunderland Foundation the center received in December 2013. The foundation was started in 1945 by Lester T. Sunderland, focusing on supporting brick and mortar projects.

Over the years, it has awarded numerous grants to nonprofits in the Kansas City region including the Kansas City Zoo, the University of Kansas Hospital Cancer Center, Kansas City Public Television, the Nelson Gallery Foundation and Cristo Rey Kansas City High School.

“We visited with other higher education institutions to learn how they were developing their programming. The first Innovation Summit in 2012 started some movement in this direction,” he said. “We created the Innovation Center and designed and funded Innovation Niches (the nice furniture for students you see in the hallway outside of the Business Division). Then we attained funding through the Sunderland Foundation to remodel the center as it stands today.”

Hunt said the Innovation Center will help KCKCC adapt to the needs of the community while also pushing the boundaries of higher education. He said by dedicating resources to the center, KCKCC is supporting those students and community members who wish to grow their ideas into a sustainable business.

“I find that when I ask our students how many of them want to be their own boss or own their own business, many hands in the room fly into the air. I believe that people thrive when they create. The yearning to own the idea, be autonomic, be your own boss, and see your baby grow, is at the heart of the need for our community,” Hunt said. “I want to see a very active entrepreneurial community in which people are freely sharing innovations, supporting each other’s growth, and finding the resources with our help. Also, I want to create deeper agreements with partners who will create additional pathways and resources for our clients, partners, and students.”

For more information on the Innovation Center, contact Hunt at 913-288-7659 or by email at mhunt@kckcc.edu.