FC Kansas City on Wednesday announced a two-year partnership with UMKC that will allow the team to play its home matches at the Stanley H. Durwood Soccer Stadium & Recreational Field starting this season. The agreement also includes a club option for 2016.
By KATHLEEN GIER
The Kansas City Star
“We’ve got world-class players and playing in a soccer-specific venue with top-notch facilities, they deserve that, quite frankly,” FC Kansas City president Brian Budzinski said. “We are going down in seating almost 1,000 from what we brought in last year, but it was important that they played at a place that was specific for soccer, no football lines, and create that intimate experience. To do it right here on the Plaza, you couldn’t ask for a better place.”
FC Kansas City will share the facility, which is a $9 million addition, with the UMKC men’s and women’s soccer teams. As part of the arrangement, FC Kansas City will also pay for another addition, which will increase the current seating capacity from 850 to 3,200.
“This is huge for our student athletes and not just our women’s soccer athletes, but all of our female athletes to see females in their profession and sport and see them take it to the highest level, it lets them know that they can do the same thing,” UMKC athletic director Carla Wilson said.
In its first season of National Women’s Soccer League competition, FC Kansas City played home matches at the Shawnee Mission North District Stadium and ranked second in the league with an average crowd of 4,626 fans. While the seating plan will be different this season, Budzinski said he believes fans will enjoy the changes.
“Our season-ticket holders are really important to us, and we are one of the top teams in the league as far as attendance and season-ticket holders, so we are going to have their concerns at the forefront and we have this whole time,” Budzinski said. “Hopefully everyone will like that they are closer to the players and closer to the action and able to have a little more interaction with the players than they have in the past.”
Season-ticket holders who already have placed deposits for the 2014 season will be contacted in the next week and season tickets will go on sale to the public on Jan. 20 at 10 a.m.
FC Kansas City also announced its list of protected players for Friday’s NWSL expansion draft, which includes Jen Buczkowski, Melissa Henderson, Lauren Holiday, Nikki Krzysik, Merritt Mathias, Leigh Ann Robinson, Amy Rodriguez, Becky Sauerbrunn, Erika Tymrak. Nicole Barnhart, who was chosen NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year, was left unprotected.
| Kathleen Gier, firstname.lastname@example.org