Sporting Kansas City is seeking to develop a youth academy program in Garden City, Kan., equipped with a new training center that would be funded by the state’s STAR Bond program, according to an agenda for Tuesday’s Garden City Commission meeting.
The proposal, which is laid out in a letter from Sporting Club counsel Greg Cotton to the city, also includes plans for Garden City to be home to a Premier Development League franchise that would have affiliation with Sporting Kansas City. The club would prefer to find a local Garden City investor to own and operate the PDL team, according to the proposal.
The academy program — a proposed name of Sporting Garden City — would be an extension on a Sporting KC youth system that started in 2007. The team has 12 affiliates across the Midwest.
The proposal calls for the training center to include classrooms, locker rooms, fitness and conditioning equipment and possibly a dormitory for housing players who live outside Garden City.
Sporting KC academy players can eventually join the MLS club without going through the draft process. Via the league’s homegrown protected list, clubs can retain the professional rights to academy players. Sporting KC has signed three of its former academy players to professional contracts: defenders Kevin Ellis and Erik Palmer-Brown and goalkeeper Jon Kempin.
It seeks to produce the academy in Garden City by merging two or more youth soccer clubs already in the area, according to the proposal.
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