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Sporting Announces New Facility, Makes Kansas City Indisputable 'Soccer Town'

Greg Echlin

Much like the winning drivers at Kansas Speedway next door, Sporting Kansas City is taking a victory lap.

Firmly planted in Kansas City with a state-of-the-art soccer venue and a first class practice facility and fields, Sporting Kansas City steered the area to another level with an announcement Wednesday of a proposed National Training and Coaching Development Facility in Kansas City, Kan.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback was on hand for the formal announcement at Sporting Park before Sporting KC took the field for an international friendly match against Manchester City FC.

Brownback praised the efforts of all parties involved with finalizing the soccer village that’s expected to cost more than $75 million to build. Construction is expected to begin this fall.

“Sports is a front window for a community, for a state,” said Gov. Brownback. “To have soccer, being here and so well-represented, is a beautiful front window for us to show this country and the world. I’m very enthusiastic about it.”

Credit Greg Echlin / KCUR
The training facility will be built on the land at the SE corner of 98th Street and Parallel in Kansas City, Kan.

The facility will be built on the corner of 98th and Parallel, which borders the northern edge of the Schlitterbahn Water Park, and will be made possible through a combination of "private participation through land transactions" and sales tax revenue (STAR) bonds.

A full-service 125-room hotel is also planned for the complex along with 16 fields, eight professional smart fields and eight youth fields.

Robb Heineman, one of the Sporting KC owners, hopes the training facilities are finished in time for the U.S. team to train for the 2016 CopaAmerica soccer tournament.

Sports have an economic and social impact on our community and, as a sports reporter, I go beyond the scores and statistics. I also bring the human element to the sports figures who have a hand in shaping the future of not only their respective teams but our town. Reach me at gregechlin@aol.com.
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