There has been much speculation around Swope Park Rangers and where they will be playing next season do to new regulations from USL involving capacity. The USL previously had a waiver from US Soccer in regards to Division 2 teams having a capacity of at least 5,000 in their stadium. As of 2018, that will no longer apply. With SPR playing at Children’s Mercy Victory Field, and the field’s capacity being just over 3,500 currently, there was going to need to be some expansion in order to keep the team there.
With this report by Paul Kennedy it seems that expansion at Swope Park does not seem likely at that a move for SPR at this point.
USL president Jake Edwards says Swope Park Rangers won't be playing at Swope Park Village in 2018. May play at main Sporting KC stadium but he said it's also looking elsewhere.— Paul Kennedy (@pkedit) November 10, 2017
This report that USL President Jake Edwards does lead us to believe that there could be a move to a different location. The quote does lead us to believe also that the Rangers could play at Children’s Mercy Park, but I have to imagine that they would much prefer a smaller stadium (that still meets that 5,000 seating rule) that could create a more intimate feel to the game.
Our own Thad Bell reached out to Sporting KC for comment and they replied that there was nothing official yet and they are exploring all their options. That would seem to leave CMP, an expanded Swope Soccer Village or another unknown location all on the table.
Some sites that have already housed professional soccer before are at Shawnee Mission North and UMKC’s Stanley H. Durwood Soccer Stadium. Both were brief homes for FC Kansas City and seem likely candidates as well (although Durwood Soccer Stadium would need a bit of expansion to meet that 5,000 seat rule).
In the past there was the possibility of a move for SPR. For a brief while there was talk of Swope Park Rangers possibly moving to somewhere like Omaha, but even that seems unlikely. Peter Vermes put that to rest a few weeks ago when he indicated to The Blue Testament that Swope are staying in KC and in USL Divison 2.
Additionally, Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes would presumably not like losing easy access for players to go up and down training with youth sides, SPR, and Sporting Kansas City.
All this being said the season isn’t even over yet. Be sure to read the preview of this Monday’s USL Cup Final between Swope Park Rangers and Louisville City FC that is set to kick off at 8:00pm CT.