State and local officials were ecstatic July 23 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 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 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.
State Sen. David Haley said he supported more development in eastern Kansas City, Kan.
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.
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. Sources said there also is additional land east of 94th Street under negotiation for this project.
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.