Our old friend here on the blog Pete Grathoff (you can find him doing a bang-up job covering the Royals these days; also, follow him on Twitter it will make his day) posed the following question last night in a Google Chat.
The Kansas City Star
Is any city in the country generating as much soccer news right now as KC?
My answer: Absolutely not. I mean, maybe I'm a little too close to the situation (and I've not really been keeping up to date with the bloggers rolling over on the Toronto FC coaching situation), but it certainly seems like Sporting Kansas City and, generally, the "Kansas City soccer scene" are making a lot headlines these days.
If you can name me another city in American right now generating this much soccer news, I'd like to hear about it.
Consider these headlines from just the last week.
The 2013 MLS All-Star Game is coming on July 31.
Livestrong Sporting Park is in the running for a high-profile U.S. national team World Cup qualifier (maybe even the first one on March 22nd).
Sporting KC players lead MLS in national team call-ups.
And KC will have no less than 13 nationally-televised games in 2013.
Not to mention the impending arrival of FC Kansas City in the National Women's Soccer League. We should know the big names for the roster some time today, the list of available players was very enticing. Abby Wambach, Megan Rapinoe or Alex Morgan in Kansas CIty? Yeah, I'll take that. Also, FC Kansas City got a really nice new logo on Thursday that's worth mentioning.
Had enough? Well, not done yet.
Roger Espinoza joined Wigan (biggest move for a former KC player IMHO), Graham Zusi went on "trial" with West Ham United, Matt Besler won Defender of the Year, Jimmy Nielsen won Goalkeeper of the Year, four players were placed in the MLS Best XI (Zusi, Nielsen, Besler and Aurelien Collin) and KC have been judged by some as "winning the offseason" so far.
To quote one of my favorite movies of the last decade, "Almost Famous".... "It's all happening."
Want more? Okay: The MLS SuperDraft is next Thursday. Robb Heineman thinks you might enjoy it.
Sporting KC is involved in two preseason tournaments (the Desert Friendlies and the Disney Pro Soccer Classic) this offseason and we've gone on at length already about the big games coming KC.
There's also the (as-of-right-now only rumored) new kits that could be landing for KC -- maybe with a sponsor? (I talked about the sponsor rumors on this week's Kick the Ball podcast. I have no verifiable sources, so I won't "report" on anything at this time.)
Stop. Take a breath. It's a lot to process.
I'll go one further than my co-worker: Has the drumbeat for the upcoming soccer season ever been as loud as it is in Kansas City right now?
There's the usual preseason player/stadium/schedule noise. But this is something different.
In the five years I've followed the team (heck, the nine years I've lived in KC), I can't remember the preseason noise being this loud. This measurable. This noticeable.
And to think, we are still nine days from training camp opening. Just 19 until the first preseason game, 51 until the first regular season game and 65 until the first match at Livestrong Sporting Park.
If we're at a solid 8 (some might be nearing a 9) right now, what happens in two or three weeks? Does this thing go to 11?