Besler, Kempin selected for U.S. Men’s National Team January camp

Sporting Kansas City captain Matt Besler and homegrown goalkeeper Jon Kempin were named to the United States Men’s National Team roster on Friday and will take part in the U.S. MNT January Camp from Jan. 12 – Feb. 8 in Carson, Calif.

The annual training camp will be highlighted by the first two international matches on the United States schedule in 2015.

Chile will host the U.S. on Jan. 28 at Estadio El Teniente in Rancagua, Chile, before the United States returns home to face Panama at 3 p.m. on Feb. 8 at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. (ESPN, UniMas, UDN).

“The prize in 2015 for the senior National Team is the Gold Cup, and this camp will give a lot of our players a chance to kick start their preparations for an important year,” U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. “We also get an opportunity to introduce the next wave of young players into the program, and in particular work with many of our Olympic-age guys as they build toward qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.”

Besler has made 23 international appearances for the United States Men’s National Team since his debut in 2013. The 27-year-old central defender led the national team with 11 starts in 2014, including starting roles in all four games at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

“This is another big year ahead of us in 2015,” Besler said. “The January Camp is always a good way to set the tone for the upcoming campaign and establish a positive rhythm within the national team environment. It is an important time of the year which brings a welcomed new wave of excitement and energy.”

An Overland Park, Kan., native, Besler has made 161 appearances in MLS competition (including postseason) over six seasons since being selected in the first round of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft out of Notre Dame. He is a three-time MLS All-Star (2011, 2013, 2014) and has twice been named to the MLS Best XI (2012, 2013) to go along with an MLS Defender of the Year honor in 2012.

Kempin, 21, joins the full U.S. Men’s National Team for the first time in his career after previously representing the United States at the Under-14 through Under-23 levels and attending the U.S. Soccer Residency Program from 2008-2009. The Leawood, Kan., native was most recently a member of the U.S. Under-21 Men’s National Team during a breakthrough 2014 campaign in which he made his MLS debut.

In doing so, he became the youngest at his position to play in Major League Soccer since 2012 and also entered the record books as the youngest goalkeeper to start an MLS match in club history. Kempin earned back-to-back MLS Save of the Week honors in his first two appearances and was named MVP of the 2014 MLS Chipotle Homegrown Game.

“I am extremely honored to be able to represent my country in my first senior team call up,” Kempin said. “I am excited to work with some of the best players in the world and learn from the likes of Nick Rimando and Sean Johnson. The experience I will get from working with Jurgen (Klinsmann) and his coaching staff will be very valuable to my career. My dream is to represent the United States in the Olympics and World Cups. I feel like being invited to the January Camp is one step closer to achieving those dreams.”

He also appeared in the Champions Shield friendly against the English Premier League’s Manchester City, one of six total appearances for the club last season (4 MLS, 1 CCL, 1 friendly) while also spending time on loan at USL PRO affiliate OKC Energy FC.

Kempin, a product of the Sporting KC Academy and the team’s first homegrown player signing at age 17, now enters his sixth professional season in 2015. He made his competitive debut during the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and helped Orlando City SC claim the USL PRO Championship in 2013, making 34 saves in nine games while on loan with the Lions.

The United States – No. 27 in the latest FIFA rankings – has scheduled seven international friendlies to be played against top competition over the next six months in preparation for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup (July 7-26). The U.S. will face five teams ranked in the top 20 in the world, including regional rival Mexico (April 15), fifth-ranked Netherlands (June 5) and 2014 FIFA World Cup champion Germany (June 10).
– Story from Sporting KC

Sporting KC announces 2015 schedule

Sporting Kansas City has announced its 2015 Major League Soccer schedule.

According to the club, there will be 34 regular season games. Single-game tickets for the first 10 regular season home matches will go on sale to the public on Feb. 2. Current 2015 season ticket members will have a pre-sale opportunity.

Sporting Kansas City will kick off the team’s 20th season on Sunday, March 8, against the New York Red Bulls at Sporting Park in a match-up of the top two goal scorers from the 2014 MLS season.

All-Stars Dom Dwyer and Bradley Wright-Phillips will go head-to-head on FOX Sports 1 in Sporting Kansas City’s first of 10 nationally-televised matches during the 2015 regular season.

FOX Sports 1, ESPN2 and UniMas – each of which will televise MLS matches through 2022 as part of new eight-year agreements — will collectively air seven regular season matches live from Sporting Park in 2015, along with a pair of 2013 MLS Cup rematches at Real Salt Lake and the club’s first-ever match against Orlando City SC at the Citrus Bowl (Sept. 13).

FOX Sports 1 and ESPN2 will simulcast MLS matches on their Spanish-language networks (ESPN Deportes, FOX Deportes) and their authenticated digital offerings (WatchESPN, FOX Sports GO). UniMas broadcasts will be available in Spanish and English both on television and live streamed on the Univision Deportes app.

Every Sporting Kansas City regular season MLS match will again be shown live in 2015. KMCI-TV (38 the Spot), a member of the SKCTV Network, will serve as the team’s local broadcast partner and will carry all regular season matches not nationally televised on FOX Sports 1 or ESPN2. KCMI’s plans include pre-game and post-game coverage, as well as select Sporting Kansas City programming to air on sister station KSHB-TV.

Sporting Kansas City re-joins the Western Conference in 2015, due to the addition of expansion sides Orlando City SC and New York City FC, and will play each of the 10 Eastern Conference foes once over the course of the upcoming campaign. The remaining 24 regular season matches are spent within the West, as follows:

Two games versus:
LA Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes, Vancouver Whitecaps.

Three games versus: Seattle Sounders, Houston Dynamo, Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake.

Sporting Kansas City begins the 2015 campaign with 16 games in the season’s opening 15 weeks before the team’s first bye on June 13. Additional weekends off from MLS action for Sporting KC in 2015 are July 4, Sept. 5 (FIFA date) and Oct. 10 (FIFA date).

The first half of Sporting Kansas City’s 2015 regular season schedule is highlighted by a stretch of five straight games against teams that appeared in the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs (Seattle twice, as well as New England, FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake).

Sporting KC heads to Yankee Stadium for the club’s inaugural match against David Villa and New York City FC on March 28, then is home on April 5 (Easter Sunday) for the club’s 600th all-time regular season game (and 300th regular season home game in team history).

State-of-the-art Sporting Park, which opened in June 2011, will then play host to its 100th Sporting Kansas City match on May 16 (80 MLS, 10 USOC, 5 CCL, 5 Friendlies).

2015 home opponents: New York Red Bulls, Portland Timbers, Philadelphia Union, Real Salt Lake, Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids (x2), New England Revolution, FC Dallas (x2), Seattle Sounders (x2), Montreal Impact, Houston Dynamo, Vancouver Whitecaps, San Jose Earthquakes, LA Galaxy.

2015 road opponents: FC Dallas, New York City FC, LA Galaxy, Houston Dynamo (x2), D.C. United, Seattle Sounders, Real Salt Lake (x2), Vancouver Whitecaps, Toronto FC, Columbus Crew SC, Colorado Rapids, Portland Timbers (x2), Orlando City SC, San Jose Earthquakes.

Manager Peter Vermes has led Sporting KC to the most road wins (28) of any MLS team since 2011 and will be tasked with two trips to Houston, Portland and Real Salt Lake in 2015 while twice welcoming Colorado, Dallas and Seattle to Sporting Park. The club’s list of away fixtures also feature two fan-friendly road trips for local supporters with Saturday night matches scheduled in Dallas (March 14) and Colorado (Aug. 29).

Sporting Kansas City will embark on a four-game road trip from Aug. 22 through Sept. 13 that sees the team finish the 2015 regular season with seven of their final 10 matches away from home, including a first-ever match at the San Jose Earthquakes brand new Avaya Stadium on Oct. 16 in the regular season road finale.

The three home matches during that stretch all come against Western Conference teams that reached the postseason in 2014, including the penultimate home match of the regular season against Supporters’ Shield holders Seattle Sounders FC (Sept. 27) and the “Decision Day” finale against reigning MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy (Oct. 25).

Sporting Kansas City will also participate in the 2015 edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, a single-elimination domestic tournament that the team won in 2004 and 2012. Prior to the 2015 season, Sporting Kansas City will travel to Tucson, Arizona for the team’s pre-season preparations (Jan. 25 thru Feb. 10 and Feb. 15 through March 1).

For information on group ticket packages and partial season ticket packages for the 2015 season, call 888-4KC-GOAL.
– Story from Sporting KC

Sporting Kansas City 2015 MLS regular season schedule
Date Opponent Time Television
Sun., March 8 vs. New York Red Bulls 6pm FS1/FOX Deportes
Sat., March 14 at FC Dallas 7:30pm SKCTV
Sat., March 21 vs. Portland Timbers 7:30pm SKCTV
Sat., March 28 at New York City FC TBD SKCTV
Sun., April 5 vs. Philadelphia Union 6pm FS1/FOX Deportes
Sat., April 11 vs. Real Salt Lake 7:30pm SKCTV
Sat., April 18 at LA Galaxy 9:30pm SKCTV
Sat., April 25 at Houston Dynamo 7:30pm SKCTV
Sun., May 3 vs. Chicago Fire 4pm ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sat., May 9 at D.C. United 6pm SKCTV
Sat., May 16 vs. Colorado Rapids 7:30pm SKCTV
Wed., May 20 vs. New England Revolution 7pm ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sat., May 23 at Seattle Sounders TBD SKCTV
Fri., May 29 vs. FC Dallas 8pm UniMas/KMCI-TV
Sat., June 6 vs. Seattle Sounders 7:30pm SKCTV
Sun., June 21 at Real Salt Lake 9pm FS1/FOX Deportes
Sat., June 27 vs. Colorado Rapids 7:30pm SKCTV
Sun., July 12 at Vancouver Whitecaps TBD SKCTV
Sat., July 18 vs. Montreal Impact 7:30pm SKCTV
Fri., July 24 at Real Salt Lake 10pm UniMas/KMCI-TV
Sat., Aug. 1 vs. Houston Dynamo 7:30pm SKCTV
Sat., Aug. 8 at Toronto FC TBD SKCTV
Sat., Aug. 15 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps 7:30pm SKCTV
Wed., Aug. 19 vs. San Jose Earthquakes 7:30pm SKCTV
Sat., Aug. 22 at Columbus Crew SC 6:30pm SKCTV
Sat., Aug. 29 at Colorado Rapids 8pm SKCTV
Wed., Sept. 9 at Portland Timbers 9:30pm SKCTV
Sun., Sept. 13 at Orlando City SC 6pm FS1/FOX Deportes
Fri., Sept. 18 vs. FC Dallas 6pm UniMas/KMCI-TV
Wed., Sept. 23 at Houston Dynamo 7:30pm SKCTV
Sun., Sept. 27 vs. Seattle Sounders 4pm ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
Sat., Oct. 3 at Portland Timbers 9:30pm SKCTV
Fri., Oct. 16 at San Jose Earthquakes 10pm SKCTV
Sun., Oct. 25 vs. LA Galaxy 6pm SKCTV
*Subject to change; times listed as TBD will be announced at a later date

Sporting KC signs Peterson to new contract

Jacob Peterson
Jacob Peterson

Sporting Kansas City announced on Wednesday that the club has signed forward Jacob Peterson to a new contract.

“I’m very happy to have re-signed with an organization as good as Sporting Kansas City. There was never really any other place that I wanted to go in this offseason so I’m glad that we could get a deal worked out,” Peterson said. “It’s also exciting to see some of the moves that have been made, most recently with bringing Roger (Espinoza) back. It shows the ambition of the club and it is definitely a place that I am happy to remain a part of moving forward.”

“Jacob Peterson is a player we feel fits very well for us on the field and within the culture of our club,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said. “We are thrilled to re-sign him and are looking forward to the start of pre-season later this month.”

A nine-year MLS veteran, Peterson has 15 goals and 14 assists in 199 regular season appearances over the course of his professional career. He enters his fourth season with Sporting Kansas City in 2015 after contributing eight goals and six assists in 80 games across all competition for the club and helping lead the team to the playoffs each of he past three years.

Peterson is one of only two players in Major League Soccer history to be a member of teams that won each of the following: NCAA Division I National Championship (2003, 2004), Canadian Championship (2010, 2011), U.S. Open Cup (2012) and MLS Cup (2013). The only other player to accomplish the feat was Nick Garcia, doing so in nearly identical fashion by claiming two collegiate championships at Indiana (1998, 1999) before winning MLS Cup (2000) and U.S. Open Cup (2004) titles in Kansas City to go along with Canadian Championship (2009, 2010) runs while playing for Toronto FC.

As a youth, Peterson represented the United States at the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Championships and 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup. He was a two-time champion at Indiana University with goals in the finals of the 2003 and 2004 College Cups before being selected by Colorado in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft as a Generation adidas signing.

Four seasons (2006-09) with the Rapids were followed by stints with Toronto FC (2010-11) and the San Jose Earthquakes (2011) before Peterson was acquired by Sporting Kansas City prior to the 2012 season. He contributed five goals and two assists for Sporting KC in all competition during his first season, including the game-winning goal in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals, and his injury-delayed 2013 campaign was highlighted by a game-tying goal in the CONCACAF Champions League group stage.

In 2014, Peterson was one of four players on Sporting Kansas City’s roster to record multiple goals and multiple assists during the regular season. He scored game-winning goals against Columbus in May and Toronto FC in July, the latter of which capped off a come-from-behind, shorthanded victory to set the all-time club record with five straight road wins.

Among players currently under contract with an MLS club who have appeared in as many regular season appearances as Peterson (199), only two are younger: Dax McCarty (216) and Corey Ashe (211). Peterson’s 199 regular season appearances are second most on Sporting Kansas City’s roster, trailing only midfielder Paulo Nagamura (222).
– Story from Sporting KC