Sporting KC

Sporting Park to host 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in October

The United States’ path to the 2016 Summer Olympics soccer tournament will run through Kansas City.

Sporting Park was unveiled Thursday as one of four sites for the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in October.

The home to Sporting Kansas City will serve as the host for the opening day of the Olympic qualifying tournament on Oct. 1, with a Group A doubleheader that will feature the United States under-23 men’s national team.

Sporting Park will showcase another Group A doubleheader involving the U.S. team on Oct. 3.

Denver and Los Angeles will also receive group-stage matches, with Salt Lake City hosting the semifinals on Oct. 10 and the championship and third-place matches on Oct. 13.

“One of the great things about all of these venues has been the amazing support the fans have given the national team,” U.S. U-23 national team head coach Andi Herzog said. “We have seen how much of an impact our fans have, and we need them more than ever as we strive to represent the United States in the 2016 Olympics.”

Mexico, the 2012 Olympics gold medalist, will headline Group B in the qualifying tournament. Canada will be placed in one of the two groups. Three teams from Central America and two from the Caribbean will be determined through other qualifying events in August.

The draw for the tournament is scheduled for mid-August, after which the complete schedule will be announced.

The two finalists in the tournament earn spots in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The winner of the third-place match will play a play-in game against Colombia.

The venue choice could offer Sporting KC goalkeeper Jon Kempin a chance to represent his country in front of his hometown crowd. Kempin was named to the most recent U.S. U-23 training camp roster. The first homegrown signing in Sporting KC history, Kempin attended Blue Valley North High School. He is currently on loan with the San Antonio Scorpions of the North American Soccer League.

Countries qualify for the Olympics using their respective U-23 teams. The U.S. U-23 team features three players who played in the 2014 FIFA World Cup — John Brooks, Julian Green and DeAndre Yedlin.

Sporting KC season ticket members will be guaranteed seats for the four group-stage matches.

Sporting Park is no stranger to the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament. In 2012, it hosted the semifinals and finals of the event.

To reach Sam McDowell, call 816-234-4869 or send email to smcdowell@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @SamMcDowell11.

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