Finally, Sporting Kansas City’s preseason matches are about to get meaningful.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
The club went 1-0-2 in its a two-week stint in Tucson, Ariz., but those games were primarily for evaluation purposes.
Now, Sporting KC will begin molding its team in earnest for the upcoming MLS season — which begins March 2 at the Philadelphia Union — in the second leg of training in Orlando, Fla.
Sporting KC kicks off the Disney Pro Soccer Classic at 2 p.m. today against the Montreal Impact at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Kissimmee, Fla.
The club will play its final tune-ups Wednesday against D.C. United and wraps up next Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rowdies as the Pro Soccer Classic continues.
Trialists Nick Zimmerman, who was forward C.J. Sapong’s college teammate at James Madison and played two seasons with the New York Red Bulls, and Adama Mbengue, who plays for the club’s USL Pro affiliate Orlando City SC, were added to the roster for the final three preseason games.
On to the college level
Nine players from Sporting Kansas City’s Under-18 academy team signed national letters of intent Wednesday and will continue their careers at the college level.
Six of the nine signed with NCAA Division I programs, including Seo-In Kim, who signed with Duke, and Joe Amico, who signed with Central Florida.
Two players, Darby Cronin and Wes White, inked with UMKC, while Matt Bernard signed with Drake and Adam Lightner signed with Northern Illinois.
Paul Dean picked Rockhurst, an NCAA Division II program, while Rene Rodriguez and Christian Verduzco both signed with Dodge City Community College.
MLS schedule finalized
Sporting Kansas City’s regular-season schedule was finalized this week when starting times were announced for its games north of the border.
Sporting KC will kick off its second game of the season at 12:30 p.m. March 9 at Toronto FC, which will be played at the Rogers Centre. The Sept. 21 match against Toronto FC at BMO Field kicks at 3 p.m.
Kickoff for Sporting KC’s battle July 27 against the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo is set for 6 p.m.
The club also announced a time change for its home match against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC on July 3. That match will start at 8 p.m.
Camp set for March
Sporting KC’s Academy program will conduct the 2013 Pre-Academy Spring Break Camp on March 18-20 for boys ages 8-16 who might be interested in joining the club’s juniors program.
Players will be trained and evaluated by the Sporting KC Academy coaching staff at the club’s Swope Park training facility.
The camp, which costs $125 and includes an adidas Sporting KC T-shirt, will be broken into three age groups with the 14-16-year-olds training from 9 to 10:30 a.m., 11-13-year-olds from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 8-10-year-olds from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
Tryouts set for June
Sporting announced Friday that it will conduct an open tryout for prospective players June 15-16 at the club’s Swope Park training facility.
The tryout is open to players who are at least 18 years old and limited to the first 200 registrants.
It is the sixth season Sporting KC has offered an open tryout. Interested players should register through SportingKC.com and must pay a $208 fee in addition to providing their own transportation, lodging and food for the weekend.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.