The initial plans for a national soccer training headquarters were constructed at a business meeting in 2012. Five years later, a visible, tangible indication of the blueprint sits on the southeast corner of 98th Street and Parallel Parkway in Kansas City, Kan.
On Tuesday, Sporting KC personnel offered the media a tour of the premises, with the latest update encompassing steel in place for the 80,000 square-foot facility.
“A long, long time in the making,” said David Ficklin, the club’s vice president of development, who served as the tour guide Tuesday. “You can finally start to see and envision what we’ve been planning for a really long time.”
The National Training and Coaching Development Center — which now comes with an estimated $80-million price tag — is scheduled for completion on Dec. 15, Ficklin said.
The facility will house Sporting Kansas City full time, and U.S. Soccer plans to move its coaching and education programs to the site.
The U.S. national teams have not yet committed to training at the NTCDC on a regular basis, though U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn told The Star last fall that the men’s, women’s and youth teams will likely be in Kansas City often during the summer. The expectation — or perhaps hope — is the final project will lure them to Kansas City regularly and will also help nearby Children’s Mercy Park secure more national team games.
“We think once they see it, they’re going to say (that) this place is unbelievable and want to come,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said.
Sporting KC currently trains at Swope Soccer Village and shares a complex with its five academy teams and the Swope Park Rangers. The new facility will be 10 times the size of the current structure. The Rangers and the academy teams will remain at Swope Park.
The new complex will reserve locker rooms for the U.S. national teams and their coaches, one each for Sporting KC players and coaches and two more for coaches who are enrolled in the training and education programs.
The plans have not significantly deviated from the blueprint unveiled during a groundbreaking ceremony last summer. The site will have five professional soccer fields, all of which are wired with fiber connections to produce live video of training and seminars.
The building features a 12,500-square-foot gym that connects a new flagship Children’s Mercy Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center to the training complex. The facility will also include classrooms, conference rooms, player lounges and a full cafeteria.
“We asked the three properties — U.S. Soccer, Sporting Kansas City and Children’s Mercy — what they would want in an ideal complex,” Ficklin said. “This is the product of all of those things in one place.”
The neighboring youth soccer fields at 94th Street and State Avenue are also scheduled to open later this year.