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A drawing showed the new national soccer training center proposed for 98th and Parallel Parkway.


by Mary Rupert

State and local officials were ecstatic tonight about a new $75 million U.S. Soccer National Training Center complex to be built near the Schlitterbahn at 98th and Parallel Parkway in Kansas City, Kan.

The economic effect of the new soccer village, including new jobs and investment, will be more than $1 billion over 30 years, Gov. Sam Brownback said in a news conference at Sporting Park. The site of the new village is just a little over a mile to the northeast of the Sporting Park stadium. Also at the announcement were Sporting Club, Unified Government, Schlitterbahn and EPR Properties officials.

“This high-quality training facility with structured programming, along with Sporting Park, state-of-the-art soccer stadium, will undoubtedly transform Kansas City, Kan., and our region into one of the top soccer venues in the nation,” Mayor Mark Holland said. For Kansas City, Kan., it also will be an opportunity to bring more visitors to the destination who will spend money in the community, he said.

Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman unveiled the project, which will include a 125-room hotel, a 100-square-foot indoor training facility, eight lighted professional fields and eight youth fields. It will also include an indoor pavilion and specialized facilities. He noted that this project was the same as getting another sports franchise here. The completion date is 2016.

The intent of the project, according to officials, is to build a world-class development to train youth and adult players, coaches and referees.

The soccer complex was expanded from its original idea of solely a youth training facility to one encompassing adults, including serving as a host to the national men’s and women’s teams, at youth and adult levels. It also is expected to be used for national soccer training camps, and referee and coach education programs.

“We’ve been committed to bringing world-class destinations to Kansas City, Kan.,” Mayor Holland said. He added Kansas City, Kan., is already No. 1 in the region for soccer, if not the nation. Soccer, a growing sport, also gives youths something to aspire to, he added.

While some of the details still remain to be worked out, and approved by the Unified Government Commission, the project will use sales tax revenue bonds, according to officials.

The process of city and state approvals will probably take 90 days, Heineman said. Simultaneously, design work will be done.

Mayor Holland said the STAR bonds at this new project will not mean any change to the retirement date of the Village West STAR bonds, projected in 2017.

The governor said the state of Kansas and local community can make the decision about whether STAR bonds will be issued. State Rep. Tom Burroughs said the state has given discretion to the Kansas secretary of commerce to make those decisions, and the Legislature will not step in unless a question arises.

“We’re all excited,” said Unified Government Commissioner Mike Kane about the new development. Something like this doesn’t come along very often, he added. Commissioner Jim Walters, also at the announcement, said he was glad to see the new development.

While the property for the new training center is in the area originally set aside for the Schlitterbahn, according to Maureen Mahoney, chief of staff for Mayor Holland, there will still be plenty of land available there for more Schlitterbahn expansion.

State Sen. David Haley, D-4th Dist., said he was in favor of more development for the eastern side of Kansas City, Kan.

A resolution to set a public hearing for the proposed STAR bond district and project plans is on the UG agenda for Thursday, July 24, at 7 p.m. If approved, the public hearing date would be Aug. 28. Described in the agenda is a project area between 94th Street and I-435, from Parallel Parkway to State Avenue.

Gov. Sam Brownback said Wyandotte County and the state of Kansas could see an economic effect exceeding $1 billion over 30 years with the new U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Kansas City, Kan. (Staff photo)


Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman said the new U.S. Soccer National Training Center proposed for Kansas City, Kan., would be the same as bringing another sports franchise to the area. (Staff photo)


Mayor Mark Holland said the new national soccer training center would transform Kansas City, Kan., and the region into one of the top soccer venues in the nation. (Staff photo)


David Brain, president and chief executive officer of EPR Properties, and Gary Henry, CEO of Schlitterbahn, attended the announcement. (Staff photo)


Discussing the new soccer training development before the announcement were, left to right, Bill Rogers, Unified Government Commissioner Jane Philbrook and State Rep. Tom Burroughs. UG Administrator Doug Bach is at the left. (Staff photo)


In the Unified Government agenda documents is this drawing of the proposed development area.


This map in the Unified Government agenda documents shows the boundaries of the STAR bond district.


Sporting Kansas City fans made their way to Wednesday night’s match against Manchester City. (Staff photo)

A spokesman for the Kansas City T-Bones said terms have been reached with the team’s 2013 Player of the Year, infielder Matt Padgett.

Padgett, 36, has spent the 2014 season with Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League, where he batted .294 in 85 games with 95 hits, including 22 doubles and 10 home runs, and 60 RBIs. He was selected earlier this season for the league’s all-star game.

Padgett, who was the American Association-PointStreak Hitter of the Month in July 2013 while with the T-Bones, was one of the top hitters in the league last season before being traded to New Jersey of the Can-Am League in August. He had a .337 batting average with 19 home runs, 33 doubles, 66 RBIs and a .650 slugging percentage in 82 games for Kansas City. The T-Bones reacquired Padgett’s rights in September.

“We’re excited to welcome Padgett back,” said T-Bones vice president and general manager Chris Browne. “He’s a veteran hitter that will be an asset on the field and in the clubhouse, plus he’s a fan favorite.”

The 2014 season is Padgett’s 17th professional season. Padgett, 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds from Lexington, S.C., is a career .274 hitter with 417 doubles, 199 home runs and 1,026 RBIs in 1,806 games.

Padgett is expected to be in uniform for the T-Bones on Friday night when the team starts a three-game series at Lincoln.

To meet league roster requirements with the signing of Padgett and to strengthen their bullpen, the T-Bones have traded infielder-outfielder David Espinosa to Wichita in exchange for pitcher Patrick Mincey. According to American Association rules, each team is allowed a maximum of five veteran players. Both Padgett and Espinosa are veterans.

Mincey, a 6-foot-3 and 190-pound right hander, is 2-3 with a 3.55 ERA in 26 games this season with the Wingnuts. Although he hasn’t been used as the closer in Wichita, Mincey had 24 saves in 2013 for Grand Prairie, and 41 overall in two-plus professional seasons.

“You hate to lose a player like Espy,” Browne said. “He’s been a class act on and off the field this summer. We wish him the best. But it’s simply a numbers game with the roster, and in this case, it’s kind of a two-for-one deal. We add a veteran bat with some pop in Padgett and we bolster our bullpen with Mincey.”

Mincey is expected to be in uniform for Kansas City tonight as the T-Bones conclude the series against Grand Prairie at CommunityAmerica Ballpark in Kansas City, Kan.

- Story from T-Bones

The defending MLS Cup champions Sporting Kansas City will play host to the defending English Premier League champions Manchester City at 8 p.m. Wednesday night at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

The match will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes with radio coverage in Kansas City on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Gran D 1340. A limited number of tickets may still remain for Wednesday’s match and may be available at Ticketmaster.com.

The international friendly will consist of two 45-minute halves. If the match is tied at the conclusion of regulation, the two teams will go directly to a penalty kick shootout. The winner of Wednesday’s friendly will take home the Champions Shield.

Sporting KC hoisted the MLS Cup on Dec. 7 defeating Real Salt Lake at Sporting Park. At the end of regulation and two 15-minute overtime periods, the match was tied 1-1 before eventually being decided by the longest penalty kick shootout in MLS history. Sporting KC defender Aurelien Collin was named MLS Cup MVP for his equalizer in regulation and game-winning penalty kick.

Sporting KC currently sits atop the Eastern Conference with 32 points and a 10-5-5 record that includes five victories in the club’s last six MLS matches. Midfielders Benny Feilhaber and Lawrence Olum each netted a goal in Sporting KC’s 2-1 victory last Saturday over the LA Galaxy. Feilhaber’s goal was his second in as many matches earning him MLS Player of the Week honors for Week 19.

Manchester City enters the midweek match as part of a preseason tour in the United States to prepare for the 2014-15 English Premier League season.

Sporting Kansas City will be the first of Manchester City’s four scheduled matches in the United States. The marquee match between reigning champions is part of Summer in the Soccer Capital, presented by the Sprint Framily Plan. Following the match against Sporting KC, Manchester City will participate in the inaugural International Champions Cup against Liverpool FC, Olympiacos and AC Milan.

Manchester City finished the 2013-14 season in first place, winning their final match of the season against West Ham United to clinch the Premier League title.

Under first year manager Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City finished with a 27-5-6 record and scored a club record 102 goals. The league title was Manchester City’s second in the previous three seasons. Manchester City also hoisted the Capital One Cup earlier this year and advanced out of the UEFA Champions League group stage.

- Story from Sporting KC

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