Reed Haynes doesn’t play soccer.
By JUDY L. THOMAS
The Kansas City Star
But on Sunday, he found himself on the KC Live Stage in the Power & Light District, teamed up with a professional soccer juggler in a headed pass contest.
They won, passing the ball back and forth 19 times.
“I’m not a soccer player,” said Haynes, of Kansas City, after winning a soccer ball for his efforts. “Just an enthusiast.”
He and scores of other enthusiasts attended the Castrol Freestyle Event on Sunday afternoon, with Futboleros Soccer Entertainers performing and conducting competitions for juggling, heading, tricks and freestyle. The Power & Light District was buzzing throughout the weekend as fans prepare for the Major League Soccer All-Star Game on Wednesday night at Sporting Park. Activities, which stretch over several days, include concerts, competitions, exhibitions and parties in downtown Kansas City.
Among Sunday’s other festivities were a Volkswagen 5K Jersey Run; a Legoland master builder, who created the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star logo out of Lego bricks; and a 2013 Gold Cup final viewing party — featuring the United States vs. Panama — followed by an autograph session with Sporting Kansas City defender Aurelien Collin.
“It’s an exciting week,” Haynes said. “When I found out they were showing the Gold Cup final out here today and that they were giving away tickets to the All-Star Game, I decided to come out.”
Josh Hackett, 9, of Kansas City, came with his family to watch the game and also ended up in the competition, trying to juggle a soccer ball with his knees while walking across the stage.
“This was great,” said Josh, who plays soccer and said he would love to go to the All-Star Game. His dad, Jonathon, said the family belongs to the American Outlaws, a national fan network that supports the US National Team.
“We’re down here today for the Gold Cup watch party,” Jonathon Hackett said. “This is going to be a great week for Kansas City.”
Four-year-old Logan Weishaar of Olathe couldn’t agree more.
After intently observing the competition and enjoying the music, he got to take his turn on the stage. His mom, Sara, sat in the front row and gave him a thumbs-up while his dad, Kasey, took pictures.
“We saw that Legoland was going to be here, and he’s obsessed with Legos,” Sara Weishaar said. “And Logan’s a big Sporting KC fan. He’s really excited about this week.
“This is nice for the families to be able to come out here. It’s a nice atmosphere, and a perfect day.”
To reach Judy L. Thomas, call 816-234-4334 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.