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Sporting Club announces plans for $75 million “soccer village” for US Soccer National Training Center

Jul 24, 2014, 9:01 AM EDT

http://www.sportingkc.com/ http://www.sportingkc.com/

It’s not quite the cost of St. George’s Park (yet), but Sporting Club’s plans for a new US Soccer training center in Kansas City are even more fuel for the goals of Jurgen Klinsmann and Sunil Gulati.

It’s expected to cost upwards of $75 million and expected to host the National Training and Coaching Development Center, with backing and support from USSF president Gulati, the KC business community and Kansas governor Sam Brownback.

Calling it “equivalent to bringing another sports franchise here“, Sporting Club CEO Robb Heinemann praised their plan (Sporting Club is the company that owns MLS club Sporting KC).

From MLSSoccer.com:

The $75 million-plus soccer village will provide a world-class environment to develop players, coaches and referees of all ages. The state-of-the-art facility will include approximately 100,000 square feet for an indoor facility with a practice field, eight lighted professional smart fields and eight youth fields.

Additional amenities will include a climate-controlled indoor pavilion and specialized facilities tailored toward strength and nutrition, hydration, sports science, health and wellness, video and analytics. The complex will also feature a 125-room full-service hotel.

The development is expected to have an economic impact exceeding $1 billion on the state of Kansas. The facility will house a variety of US national team training camps and bring opportunities for Sporting Park to host matches for the men’s and women’s national teams at the youth and senior levels. The complex will also feature referee and coach education sessions, and many additional US Soccer events.

US Soccer’s current National Training Center is located in Carson, Calif., in the StubHub Center complex.

Perhaps the main advantage of the proposed new location would be easing one of the country’s most difficult burdens: the sheer distance of travel for players, coaches and executives across a giant country. And in the battle for a World Cup title, every bit helps… and this is more than a bit.

[RELATED: The wonder of St. George's Park and what the US can learn from it]

  1. enzocerto - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    A set place for U.S. soccer games would be the worse thing for soccer in the states. Going across the country to play in places like Seattle, NY and Phoenix all help generate interest and grow the sport. Who would want to travel all the way to Kansas City to see a game?

    • jdfsquared - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:40 AM

      This is a training facility. One mainly for coaches and referees at that.

      A great thing for the USWNT to have a top level place to reason, as well.

      • enzocerto - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:45 AM

        Yeah, but it opens up the opportunity to play at Sporting Park more often. The Sporting KC CEO has ambitions of making Kansas City “the soccer capital of America”, so there’s reason to believe the USMNT would consider playing most of their matches there.

    • sparklingpickle - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:52 AM

      The business community in Kansas City. That’s who.

      This is pretty dumb. It’s American soccer’s own Manaus.

      How is the US Soccer Federation funded anyway?

      • smhindeed - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:02 PM

        yeah i agree. such a small town thing. I thought it was cool until i found out it was “publicly funded”. In principle, I disagree with taxpayers funding this esp when it’s an entity as big (or at least so i thought) as USSF. I wouldn’t go as far to say it’s manaus as there is at least a clear direction on it’s usage going forward. I guess my question is what would be USSF’s obligation moving forward? more games scheduled for KC? surely kansas is getting something out of this.

        i’m just hoping the need fulfills the expense i guess.

    • jslip1 - Jul 25, 2014 at 9:30 AM

      Sporting’s CEO is doing his job. It’s a training facility that is centrally located. That is “all”. They aren’t going to play all their games there. They will probably play ONE qualifier or ONE Gold Cup match there because Sporting’s supporters are fantastic. They will continue to use Seattle (thankfully) and RFK (unfortunately).

      Also, stadiums due to their size and construction are set places for games of all sorts. The more you know.

      • r8drbehindenemylines - Jul 25, 2014 at 2:16 PM

        Don’t count out more than one or two matches in Kansas City. For either MNT or WNT. Arrowhead Stadium and its 77,000+ seats are down the road from Sporting Park. Could see that as a venue in 2022 once Qatar is stripped of its games and they are awarded to the US.

  2. jcmeyer10 - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    I’m all for it. All you hear about is how much money is poured into European club teams training facilities. This shows a focused approach that is closer to the European model, and that’s a step in the right direction.

  3. cpoole4 - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    This will be another key piece added to the foundation of American soccer. A step in the right direction to keep growing the sport here.

  4. granadafan - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    This is great news. If you treat the national team like afterthoughts, you’ll get like results. First class facilities can only attract top players and coaches. We also need regional centers across the country and also incorporate training in high schools to truly tap the talent in this country. We have the facilities, the money, and the athletes. Now, let’s find them and develop the kids. Keep them in soccer instead of losing them to already saturated sports like football, basketball, and baseball.

  5. mwelsh1977 - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:36 PM

    If you were to build a national training facility wouldn’t you want it somewhere where you could train outside year round? And where people would actually want to go. Atlanta, San Diego, somewhere in North Carolina. Anywhere but North or Midwest where you would have to train inside for several months of the year…I get this is a local KC thing but it sounds kind of selfish and not in the best interst of US Soccer.

    • jslip1 - Jul 25, 2014 at 9:33 AM

      It will have an indoor facility (in addition to the outdoor fields). Also, North Carolina is frigid in the winter. Even Atlanta gets cold. KC is centrally located and has the soccer infrastructure. The only other place would have been Chicago (home of the USSF) but then you’d still complain it was too cold and wreaked of nepotism.

  6. lyleoross - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    Don’t count on it happening, unless something changes or its done with private money. Brownback cut the heck out of state taxes to give the guys at the top a big tax break. The state has a huge budget crisis and had its credit rating downgraded. That means even borrowing or getting bonds for such a project would be tough. So, unless SKC is taking on the entire cost, or the National Program is paying, it won’t happen.

    If the National Program pays, I suspect a lot of states will want the option of putting in a bid on such a center.

    • lyleoross - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:58 PM

      I guess it’s not fair to say Brownback cut the taxes, the state legislature did it, but Brownback supported the move and didn’t nix it. Kind of sad if they lost a project like this one because they can’t pay their bills.

  7. r8drbehindenemylines - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    I preface everything by stating, yes, I live in the Kansas City area and in Kansas.

    First, SparklingPickle, congrats.You know that Brazil invested poorly in choosing World Cup of it’s own economic needs. (Yes, I watched the HBO “Real Sports” story too.) But Manaus? Not quite. Do some more research about what’s happening in KC: both MLS and NWSL franchises, which contented for league championships last year, rabid fan bases, and record numbers of merch sold. And getting to Kansas City is much easier than boating up the Amazon.

    mwelsh1977, why Kansas City? Because they have an ownership group that had the stones to help broker this type of a deal. And “state of the art” facilities may include indoor fields for the Midwest’s cold winters. Just sayin’.

    There are no MSL franchises in San Diego or Atlanta (yet), and don’t think the success between MLS and US Soccer aren’t intertwined.

    This is a great move for Kansas, Kansas City and US Soccer. Go look for another parade to rain on.

    • bobinkc - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:17 PM

      On top of all that, Sporting has another subsidiary that now designs state-of-the-art stadia all around the world. After the SKC stadium was opened, Heineman and his owner group decided to keep the design team inhouse and now peddles their work everywhere.

      Yes, Seattle and LA draw more fans. SKC consistently sells out Sporting Park. You will not find a more rabid fan base anywhere in the US. So all you naysayers can go poop on someone else’s parade because ours is running just fine here, thank you very much.

      • jslip1 - Jul 25, 2014 at 9:32 AM

        Ditto.

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