Sporting KC

Sporting KC pursues national soccer training center

Updated: 2013-04-06T04:42:05Z

Kansas City is poised to become the beating heart of soccer in the United States.

Sporting Kansas City and the U.S. Soccer Federation announced Friday that the organizations will explore bringing a new National Training and Coaching Development Center to Wyandotte County.

“It’s a massive opportunity, akin to another pro team coming to Kansas City from a magnitude perspective,” Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman said. “… Why would they ever go anywhere else? They can train here and play games in this stadium. It would set up as a nice little hub for (U.S. Soccer). That’s kind of the goal.”

As part of the original stadium deal with the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., Sporting Club was required to build an expanse of youth soccer fields.

The new initiative might be in conjunction with that project, though many details still need to be ironed out.

“This is a Wyandotte County project,” Heineman said. “We’re still trying to figure out what the best location is. Right now, the land that we have is the Wyandotte County Park (on State Avenue ), whether that winds up being the best spot for this we’ll just have to see.”

The first step will be a community-wide Request for Proposals on Monday and the project should move forward in earnest around June.

“We want to win the World Cup,” Heineman said. “The best way to win the World Cup is to make sure your team has incredible, world-class assets and we think we know how to deliver world-class assets, so we’re going to build the best training facility in the world for U.S. Soccer here in Kansas City with the goal of winning the World Cup.”

• Several Sporting KC players shot a group video juggling a soccer ball Thursday at training with former Chicago Fire defender Jared Montz, who was in town for Soccer Walking Kansas City.

Montz, who spent 2006-07 with the Fire, is doing a series of promotional videos across the country ahead of World Malaria Day’s Third Annual World Juggle-a-thon.

Soccer enthusiasts are encouraged to try to break their own juggling record across the globe and raise money for Nothing But Nets, an organization that provides insecticide-treated mosquito bed nets.

For more information or to register for the Juggle-a-thon, visit OnlineSoccerAcademy.com.

| Tod Palmer, tpalmer@kcstar.com

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