The Full 90

Livestrong Park filled with fans will complete a long journey

For months, Full 90 founder Charles Gooch implored me to take a tour of Livestrong Sporting Park.

It was just slightly less annoying than the pleas “You gotta see the baby!” from Seinfeld.

I rebuffed his requests for a couple of reasons.

One, I’m not really good about envisioning things. My wife will talk about putting a piece of furniture in a room of the house and I just can’t visualize it. That drives her crazy.

So the thought of Sporting stadium guru David Ficklin pointing his finger and saying “the roof will go here” or taking me to an empty room and saying “the locker room will have hugely expensive chairs and the players will have computer access,” doesn’t do a whole lot.

I’ll be happy to see it for myself tomorrow night (can you believe it’s only a day away?!?).

The other thing is I wanted to be at Livestrong Sporting Park on game day. That’ll be the best way to take in the whole experience. A stadium full of fans that will be right on top of the playing field is going to be cool.

I’ve seen it elsewhere in this country and others. But there is actually going to be a wonderful stadium right here in Kansas City. It’s in some ways hard to believe.

When Lamar Hunt put the Wizards up for sale in 2004, I covered the tortuous 20-month ordeal leading up to when Neal Patterson, Cliff Illig and the guys bought the team. Some days it seemed like the team was a goner, headed for another city – and I heard as much multiple times.

But a great local ownership group stepped up and then began the next tortuous ordeal: where the stadium would go. While Overland Park and the Bannister Mall site fell to the wayside, Sporting Kansas City has found a home at Village West in Kansas City, Kan.

So here we are, 2,373 days after Hunt put the team up for sale (that’s 339 weeks to the day), Sporting Kansas City (formerly the Wizards and Wiz) will play its first game in soccer palace. It’s all about soccer from the playing field to the game-day experience.

Yes, Sporting Kansas City has a home, but almost as importantly so do the soccer fans in Kansas City.

I can’t wait to finally see it.

| Pete Grathoff, pgrathoff@kcstar.com

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