FC Kansas City and Sporting Kansas City have agreed to partner to strengthen the sport even further in Kansas City. The Blues will be able to take advantage of some of the infrastructure that Sporting KC and government entities have built, including playing games at both Swope Soccer Village and Sporting Park as well as training at Swope Soccer Village also.
Sporting Park will host a FC Kansas City regular season game (possibly more) and any home playoff matches as well. The two teams are working out the details of playing FC Kansas City's home opener at Sporting park but has not been announced yet. The rest of the Blues games would be played on the grass field of the Championship stadium at Swope Soccer Village. The Championship Stadium is currently capable of holding approximately 2000 fans but FC Kansas City will be bringing additional bleachers that they purchased for use at UMKC and can add more as needed.
Another plus is that they will be able to sell alcohol at the stadium for fans to enjoy, a first for FC Kansas City games.
The relationship will allow FC Kansas City and Sporting KC to do cross promotions and marketing opportunities in the future as well.
"What Sporting has done on and off the field is unbelievable, a fantastic job," FC Kansas City Director of Soccer Operations Huw Williams said. "The way they represent Kansas City is incredible. They are a role model for us. We hope FC Kansas City is a good franchise and on the upswing as well and having a relationship with Sporting KC can only help."
The FC Kansas City technical staff and players are excited; they are looking forward to the opportunity to use the World Class facilities at Swope. The Blues will be able to use the new locker rooms, class rooms, training room and fields. It is expected that they will train on a mix of fields including Sporting KC fields, the Championship Field and the turf fields as needed.
FC Kansas City previously played on turf fields and this is a major upgrade in quality of surface. The Blues first season they played at the Shawnee Mission District Stadium that was a good size for fans but the turf was not conducive to good soccer. The Blues then moved to the soccer stadium at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where the turf was much better.
Quality attracts quality
This Championship Stadium grass surface is maintained by Sporting Kansas City and will be one of if not the best surface in the NWSL. Sporting KC already finds that the quality of facilities has helped attract interest from players and FC Kansas City will as well. Heather O'Reilly asked if it was possible to play and train there when the Blues were working on a trade for her from Boston.
O'Reilly had seen Swope Soccer Village first hand when she was in Kansas City for the U.S. Women's team match to qualify for the World Cup and was not alone in wanting to play there. Many of the national team players fell in love with the field while training there and inquired why the NWSL was not playing there instead.
Leaving UMKC was not easy
"This is not a negative on UMKC," Williams made clear. "They were great hosts and we never lost a game at UMKC. Leaving UMKC is not easy for us but developing that relationship with Sporting KC is huge."
"Chris Cissell was unbelievable, " Williams continued. "He went out of his way to make us feel comfortable and make sure we had all the amenities we needed but we weren't training there. We trained on the grass field at Johnson County Community College but often had to use turf fields at Overland Park Soccer Complex."