Archive for Sporting KC

Vermes shows off new training complex on Parallel

Pinnacle, at 99th and Parallel in Kansas City, Kan., is a national training center for Sporting KC and USA Soccer. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

Sporting KC head coach and technical director Peter Vermes showed off the embodiment of his vision for a state-of-the-art complex for training soccer players, coaches and officials.

The training complex is located on over 50 acres near the intersection of 99th Street and Parallel Avenue in Kansas City, Kan. It features three full-size soccer fields, along with advanced sports training, sports medicine and rehabilitation capabilities. A sports medicine center for Children’s Mercy Hospital is adjoining and will share some facilities.

Named Pinnacle, the complex contains team areas for both Sporting KC and the U.S. national teams. Sporting will use Pinnacle as its primary training location, starting this week when the team is in Kansas City for preseason work. The national teams do not yet have a scheduled date for training at the facility.

Coach licensing courses will begin in March, and nearly 200 advanced coaching students from around the country will be trained there by the end of the year. In addition to their classroom work, coaching students will gain practical experience by working with elite youth teams from the Kansas City area, along with Sporting KC academy players.

USA Soccer officials believe that the hotel, shopping, and entertainment infrastructure in the Legends area will be used by trainees and players and will complement the soccer complex by their proximity.

Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes smiled as he talked about the feeling of walking through the state-of-the-art facility. Visiting players, team owners and national officials have expressed their amazement at the capabilities the complex provides. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

Sporting KC veteran defender Graham Zusi joked that the only thing missing in the training center is a dog park. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

Coaching classrooms in the training center adjoin and look out over the fields, to combine class and field instruction in near real time. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

One wall of the great hall common area is dedicated to important moments and championships in Sporting KC and national team history. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

The team lounge includes table tennis and billiards tables, as well as a team classroom and a barber shop. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

Players can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in the full-service dining area, with all meals prepared on site. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

The Sporting KC locker room is built so that all the locker space folds completely into the walls. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

The “boot room” lies just a few feet off the training field for players to hang their soiled gear. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)

Rows of exercise equipment are available for players to use in the training facility. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)


Tickets on sale for Sporting KC’s first 10 home matches

Single-game tickets for Sporting Kansas City’s first 10 home matches of the 2018 MLS regular season are on sale via

Individual match tickets for games at Children’s Mercy Park through July 7 – beginning with the highly anticipated season opener versus New York City FC on March 4 and continuing through a mid-summer matchup with reigning MLS Cup champion Toronto FC – can be purchased via the links below.

Sunday, March 4 vs. New York City FC (6:30 p.m. CT)
Promo item: Magnet schedules, presented by Children’s Mercy (first 15,000 fans)

Saturday, March 17 vs. San Jose Earthquakes (7:30 p.m. CT)
Theme: St. Patrick’s Day

Saturday, March 31 vs. D.C. United (7:30 p.m. CT)
Promo item: Ike Opara bobblehead, presented by UMKC (first 10,000 fans)

Sunday, April 15 vs. Seattle Sounders FC (3 p.m. CT)
Theme: Faith and Family Day

Friday, April 20 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (8 p.m. CT)
Promo item: Tim Melia bobblehead, presented by Mark One Electric (first 10,000 fans)

Saturday, May 5 vs. Colorado Rapids (7:30 p.m. CT)
Theme Night: Cinco de Mayo
Promo item: Matt Besler bobblehead, presented by Mainstreet Credit Union (first 10,000 fans)

Sunday, May 27 vs. Columbus Crew SC (5 p.m. CT)
Theme Night: Retro Night

Sunday, June 3 vs. Minnesota United FC (7:30 p.m. CT)
Theme Night: Local Night

Saturday, June 23 vs. Houston Dynamo (7:30 p.m. CT)

Saturday, July 7 vs. Toronto FC (7:30 p.m. CT)
Theme Night: Post-match Fireworks

Sporting KC’s home slate features a variety of theme nights, giveaways and family-friendly ticket packages.

At the forefront, star players Ike Opara, Tim Melia and Matt Besler will each have their own bobblehead nights during the early months of the 2018 campaign.

The first half of the season also includes the return of Retro Night and Local Night, celebrations on St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo, and the club’s Faith and Family Day.

Limited quantities of full-season ticket packages remain available for supporters looking to catch every moment of the action at Children’s Mercy Park in 2018, while two half-season ticket packages are on sale starting at $305.

In addition, five home dates will offer Sunday Family Four Packs presented by Coca-Cola, consisting of four match tickets, four hot dogs, four Coca-Cola products and four bags of chips – including matches on April 15, May 27 and June 3.

Single-game tickets for Sporting KC’s final seven regular season home games will go on sale to the public in June. To visit the club’s full 34-game regular season schedule, visit

– Information from Sporting KC


Sporting KC signs Homegrown Player

Sporting Kansas City has signed Zach Wright, 22, who attended Blue Valley Northwest High School for his senior year, as a Homegrown Player.

A forward, Wright signed the one-year contract with options for 2019, 2020 and 2021.

During 2013 and 2014, Wright competed for Sporting KC Academy U-18s during the U.S. Soccer Development Academy campaign before playing college-level soccer.

Wright scored 15 goals with 28 assists during four years at the University of North Carolina.

“Zach showed a lot of improvement at North Carolina after playing for the Academy,” said Brian Bliss, Sporting KC director of player personnel, in a news release. “We are excited for him to start competing with the team during the preseason.”

Wright was the leading goal scorer for the U-18s in his lone Sporting KC Academy season. He attended Blue Valley Northwest High School as a senior after moving to Kansas City from his hometown of Smithville, Texas.

A heralded college recruit, Wright embarked on a successful career at North Carolina where he played 79 matches with 61 starts. He assisted at least five goals in all four seasons with the Tar Heels – reaching a career-high with 11 assists during his senior campaign in 2017.

In each of his final two seasons as a Tar Heel, Wright was a Second Team All-ACC selection and ranked third on the ACC assist charts.

Wright becomes the seventh Homegrown signing for Sporting KC. MLS established the Homegrown Player initiative in 2007, allowing clubs to promote youth academy players to professional contracts.

According to MLS rules, a club may sign a player to a professional contract without subjecting him to the MLS SuperDraft if the player has been a member of a club’s youth academy for at leat a year and has met training and retention requirements.

Sporting KC currently holds two first-round picks, No. 13 and No. 18, in Friday’s 2018 MLS SuperDraft.

The team does not have a selection in the second and third rounds, but has the No. 75 and No. 82 picks in the fourth and last round of the SuperDraft. The first two round selections are Friday, while the third and fourth rounds are Sunday.

Sporting KC travels to Scottsdale, Arizona, on Monday for the first phase of the club’s 2018 preseason. Manager Peter Vermes’ men will return to Kansas City on Feb. 3, then travel back to Arizona for the second leg of preseason in Tucson from Feb. 9 to 25.