FC Kansas City, one of eight team in the new National Womens Soccer League, is ahead of Sporting Kansas City in one regard: The Blues didnt have to wait more than two years for a jersey sponsor.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Before FC Kansas City, which kicks off its inaugural season April 13 against the Portland Thorns FC at Shawnee Mission North District Stadium, even played a game, Title Boxing Company signed a three-year deal to sponsor the clubs three jerseys, which were unveiled Wednesday afternoon at The Jacobson.
Defender Lauren Sesselman, who plays for the Canadian national team, modeled FC Kansas Citys blue jersey, midfielder Kristie Mewis, the clubs first-round pick from Boston College, donned the black jersey and forward Melissa Henderson, who scored 70 goals in her career at Notre Dame, showed off the white uniform.
We hoped to find a company partner that was local but also had a national footprint, said Scott Levinson, FC Kansas Citys vice president of business operations. What turned out to be the first and only company we talked to was Title Boxing Club and their founder, Tom Lyons.
Title Boxing Club was founded in Overland Park in 2008 and now operates more than 400 franchises nationwide, including 13 in metropolitan Kansas City.
Its an honor to be part of this, Lyons said. When we started this (Title Boxing Club), it was all about empowering women. Its a great fit, because were about making women better and giving them opportunities. Letting them know that the skys the limit.
Suddenly, it all feels so real for FC Kansas City, which boasts season-ticket holders from as far away as Texas and California.
It started feeling official when we opened training camp (March 11), FC Kansas City coach Vlatko Andonovski said. Now, with the additions, like the jersey sponsor and settling on a facility where well play all the other things that go with it it feels like, yes, its happening.
And much to the delight of FC Kansas Citys players.
Its really exciting that all of this is coming around for womens soccer, Henderson said. To be able to be part of it, were all just blessed to be here. Its important to really take in how lucky we are.
The idea of a professional womens soccer league isnt new, but the National Womens Soccer Leagues forerunners the Womens United Soccer Association (2001-03) and Womens Professional Soccer (2009-11) were short-lived.
I think its (the new league) going to be more successful, because theres more structure to it, Mewis said. Hopefully, it will keep going on and on and last longer than the leagues before it.
FC Kansas City President Brian Budzinski is confident that the NWSL wont be a flash in the pan.
Point blank, U.S. Soccer being involved and the multiple millions of dollars they are committing to make sure this is going to happen make all the difference, Budzinski said. This is about winning the World Cup in 2015 but were also looking forward to bringing a championship team to Kansas City.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer