Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo will re-join Major League Soccer’s Western Conference in 2015, MLS announced on Monday as part of conference re-alignment plans for the league’s highly anticipated 20th season.
Expansion clubs Orlando City SC and New York City FC will be added to the Eastern Conference for their inaugural MLS seasons.
“We’ve established some great rivalries in the East. Now we have to re-establish new rivalries in the West,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said. “This move is a product of the League’s great growth and continued success.”
One of 10 charter members of Major League Soccer, Sporting Kansas City played the team’s first nine seasons (1996-2004) in the Western Conference and reached the postseason on seven occasions. The club shifted to the Eastern Conference prior to the 2005 season and has played each of the past 10 seasons in the East.
As it currently stands, 13 of the past 15 MLS Cup champions will compete in the Western Conference in 2015. Among the 10 teams, five reside in the Pacific Time Zone, three in the Central Time Zone and two in the Mountain Time Zone.
2015 Eastern Conference (10): Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, Montreal Impact, New England Revolution, New York City FC, New York Red Bulls, Orlando City SC, Philadelphia Union, Toronto FC
2015 Western Conference (10): Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas,Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City, Vancouver Whitecaps
Chivas USA will cease operations effective immediately and the league will play with 20 clubs in the 2015 season, according to the announcement. On Thursday, Oct. 30, the league will announce a new MLS Los Angeles club — and ownership group — that will begin play in 2017.
For the 2015 season, the 20 teams will each play 34 games during the regular season. Clubs will play each team in the opposing conference once for five home and five away matches. Clubs will play each of their nine conference opponents at least twice (one home, one away), plus six additional intra-conference games — three home and three away.
Major League Soccer will fully introduce a new identity and crest in 2015 while beginning eight-year media agreements with ESPN, FOX and Univision. San Jose will open the newest soccer-specific stadium in the United States and international stars Kaka (Brazil), Frank Lampard (England) and David Villa (Spain) will all join MLS.
Sporting KC will begin the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs at 7 p.m. on Thursday against the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference Knockout Round. The winner will advance to be the host of No. 1 seed D.C. United at 3 p.m. on Sunday in Leg 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. – Story from Sporting KC
The toughest competition for Kansas City Kansas Community College’s basketball Lady Blue Devils may not come on the playing court – but getting on the court.
With four returning starters from last year’s 20th ranked team in Division II, two standout transfers who came in at the semester break and an outstanding freshman corps, the battle for playing time will be the most competitive in Valerie Stambersky’s 15 years at the Blue Devil coaching helm.
And that’s good because Stambersky promises a “much more aggressive, up tempo game – both offensively and defensively” – that will make the most of the Blue Devils’ obvious depth.
“When we substitute, there should be no letup whatsoever,” Stambersky said. “All can play defense and all can score in some capacity, some off the dribble, others from three.”
The Blue Devils open play Tuesday, playing host to Missouri Valley’s JV at 8 p.m. and the follow- up with the annual Keith Lindsey Classic when they take on Ellsworth Nov. 14 and Penn Valley Nov. 15.
Six sophomores return 63.5 percent of the scoring from last year’s team that finished 24-8, the best record in 17 years, and came within an eyelash of reaching the Region VI finals. Playing on its home court, Highland edged KCKCC 62-58 and went on to finish second in the nation.
Julia Garrard of Bentonville, Ark., who finished fourth in rebounding last year at 6.5 per game, is the only 6-footer on the roster.
“We’re not big inside but we’re bigger at the guard position and quicker and will get up and down the floor faster,” said Stambersky, who is not shy about using a one post, four guard offense.
Cassidy Harbart, a 5-6 guard from Wichita Northwest, heads the returnees after earning honorable mention Division II All-American honors last season. The Jayhawk leader in assists (6.32) and third in steals (3.42), Harbert was also second in team rebounding (6.9) and fourth in scoring (9.7).
Rashaun Casey, a 5-8 guard from Bentonville who led the Blue Devils in scoring at 13.8, and 5-11 Janai Mitchell, who averaged 9.2 points and 6.7 rebounds, also return from last year’s starting lineup along with top reserve 5-9 Iland Shurn of Bishop Miege, who led in rebounding (7.0) and averaged 8.5 points, and 5-9 Eirenei Alesana of Long Beach, Cal., who averaged 2.7 points.
Two high school teammates from St. Louis who joined the KCKCC squad the second semester, 5-7 sophomore Cierra Gaines and 5-7 freshman Erin Anderson, also figure heavily in the Blue Devil plans. Gaines, who averaged 12.7 points and 5.6 rebounds, transferred from Merrimac, Anderson from Southwestern Illinois after being injured and sitting out her freshman season.
Harbert and Anderson will be joined by two promising freshmen at the point guard position, 5-4 Aricca Day of Des Moines East and 5-5 Artasia Marshall of Memphis East while 5-7 Ky’Ana French of Milwaukee will join Casey and Gaines at shooting guard.
Three frosh, 5-8 Sierra Roberts of SM South; 5-8 Frankie Oropeza of Bishop Ward; and 5-10 Janay Jacobs of Wichita Kapaun Mt. Carmel, are prime prospects at small forward while Mitchell, Shurn, Alesana and freshmen Victoria Smith (5-9) of Basehor-Linwood and Cheyenne North (5-11) of Gallatin, Tenn., are contenders at a deep forward position. Garrard, a furious defender who averaged 6.9 points and 6.5 rebounds, and Shurn will split the post position.
Playing in preseason scrimmages, Stambersky has been most pleased with the enthusiasm of her squad.
“This team has high energy and works hard. All the feedback I’m getting from coaches at four-year schools and fellow community college coaches is how high energy they play,” she said. Her biggest concern? “There’s always concern that everyone stays healthy,” said Stambersky, who is being assisted by Shaun Burki and Alicia Roth.
In addition to the Keith Lindsey Classic Nov. 14-15, the Blue Devils will play host to the four-team KCKCC Classic Nov. 21-22 and play in the Hutchinson Classic Nov. 28-29.
The Blue Devils will vie with six teams for the Jayhawk Division II championship – Labette, Brown Mackie, Hesston, Highland, Fort Scott and Johnson County – while five former Jayhawk teams are back on the schedule, Cowley, Neosho County and Allen County at home and Coffeyville and Independence on the road.
Alan Hoskins is the sports information director at KCKCC.
2014-15 KCKCC WOMEN’S SCHEDULE
Nov. 4 – MISSOURI VALLEY JV, Home 8 p.m.
Nov. 8 – North Central Missouri, Away 2 p.m.
Keith Lindsey Classic
Nov. 14 – Penn Valley vs. Fort Scott 2 p.m.
KCKCC vs. Ellsworth 6 p.m.
Nov. 15 – Ellsworth vs. Fort Scott Noon
KCKCC vs. Penn Valley 4 p.m.
Nov. 18 – St. Mary JV, Away 7 p.m.
Nov. 21 – Labette vs. Wentworth 5 p.m.
KCKCC vs. Jefferson 7 p.m.
Nov. 22 – Labette vs. Jefferson 2 p.m.
KCKCC vs. Wentworth 4 p.m.
Nov. 28 – KCKCC vs. Hutchinson 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 29 – KCKCC vs. Dodge City 1:30 p.m.
Dec. 3 – Central Methodist JV, Away 8 p.m.
Dec. 6 – LABETTE*, Home 2 p.m.
Dec. 9 – N. CENTRAL MISSOURI, Home 5 p.m.
Dec. 11 – AVILA JV, Home 5 p.m.
Jan. 3 – BROWN MACKIE*, Home 2 p.m.
Jan. 6 – ST. MARY JV, Home 5 p.m.
Jan. 10 – COWLEY*, Home 2 p.m.
Jan. 12 – Hesston*, Away 6 p.m.
Jan. 14 – Coffeyville*, Away 6 p.m.
Jan. 17 – HIGHLAND*, Home, 2 p.m.
Jan. 21 – Independence*, Away 6 p.m.
Jan. 24 – NEOSHO COUNTY*, Home 2 p.m.
Jan. 28 – Fort Scott*, Away 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 31 – Johnson County*, Away 2 p.m.
Feb. 4 – Labette*, Away 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 8 – FORT SCOTT*, Home 2 p.m.
Feb. 11 – HESSTON*, Home 5 p.m.
Feb. 14 – Brown Mackie*, Away 1 p.m.
Feb. 18 – Highland*, Away 5 p.m.
Feb. 21 – ALLEN COUNTY*, Home 2 p.m.
Feb. 25 – JOHNSON COUNTY*, Home 5 p.m.
March 1 – Region VI playoffs, TBA
March 4 – Region VI semifinals, TBA
March 8 – Region VI championship, Wichita, TBA
• – Jayhawk Conference game
Alice Bright, Kansas City, Kan., was elected to the office of national scribe of Phi Tau Omega Sorority. The election and her installation were held at the sorority’s national convention in St. Louis. Bright’s duties will be to edit and publish the sorority’s national publication for the next year. While this is her first national office, she was the National Member of the Year in 2011-2012. She has been a member of the Kappa Gamma Chapter since 2005. (Submitted photo)