Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Finally, Kansas City has a chance
March 5th, 2007 1:48AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Confidential

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

Quietly, without much fanfare, ground was broken Friday in Swope Park, Mo. for a training facility, a four-field complex to be used by thousands of local youth players.

Yawn Grande, right? Well, hardly. Shovels in the ground does not a franchise revive, but what has begun is the transformation of the Kansas City Wizards from shoestring operation to professional sports enterprise.

OnGoal LLC, the entity formed by Cerner executives Neal Patterson and Cliff Illig and their partners may fail in their quest to make pro soccer go in Kansas City. But I disagree with proclamations that a pro team can't make it there. Pro soccer hasn't worked, quite true, but it's never been given a real chance. Now it has the backing of resources and money and committed individuals.

The stringent frugality of Hunt Sports Group has worked in Columbus and Dallas largely because HSG built stadiums in those cities, but its uneasy marriage with Arrowhead Stadium and the long-term illness of the late, great Lamar Hunt left Kansas City not unloved but certainly under-supported.

Despite the struggles of the pro game in this country, dating back several decades, there still persists among many fans the feeling that the sport must flourish simply because they believe it should. It's the world's game. Plant teams and they will grow tall and strong, even in America.

Tell that to fans of the Mutiny, Fusion, and Clash/Earthquakes, or those of the dozens of North American Soccer League extinctions. The NASL went with big names and bright lights and expired; the MLS approach of steady growth and real-estate underpinnings is widely unpopular, and its had to cast off two teams and move another, but it's still here.

One Kansas City stadium proposal failed - heavily, it must be said -- at the ballot box, which triggered further fusillades of guaranteed failure. Those experts forget: The Wizards may be behind, but the game is far from over.

HSG lost two elections in Columbus. The McKinney (Tex.) city council reversed its own vote to send Dallas scurrying off to Frisco. There was plenty of political lobbying behind the multi-sport complex called Home Depot Center.

How many times did Dave Checketts get his nose bloodied by city, county, and state governmental officials? Real Salt Lake has hit the canvas more times than Rocky Balboa, but at the final bell, it was Checketts -- straight out of "Survivor" -- standing with his arms raised in triumph.

Tales of Kansas City's demise are way premature. In at least two previous seasons, there were exactly zero regional broadcasts of Wizards' games. For  2007, Metro Sports will cover all the games not shown nationally, and there will be related programming as well.

The Swope Park complex will be used by the Wizards as a training facility as well as by local players. Kansas City has a ways to go with a stadium, yet several communities are in the mix and as in a few other MLS cities, it's only a matter of when and where. It might be on the Kansas side; details, details.
And only then can we know if this storied city - and its Kansas counterpart astride the Missouri River -- can support professional outdoor soccer.


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
MLS expansion teams address their needs directly    
The first SuperDraft of the expansion teams United is in the books. Minnesota went for a ...
Family team effort helps Abu Danladi rise to MLS No. 1 pick    
Abu Danladi's mother was unable to come from Ghana to join him in Los Angeles and ...
MLS 2017: How Eastern Conference teams look on the eve of preseason    
The New York teams finished one-two in the regular season, but the conference's 2015 MLS Cup ...
MLS 2017: How Western Conference teams look on the eve of the SuperDraft    
No more Robbie Keane or Bruce Arena in L.A., a coaching change in Houston, and a ...
USA's January Camp: It's all about the here and now    
When Bruce Arena accepted the job as U.S. national team coach for a second time in ...
MLS Positional Awards: Bingham takes top goalkeeping spot    
It was a strange year for goalkeepers in MLS. Colorado conceded the fewest goals with two ...
MLS Positional Rankings: TFC duo heads the pack at outside back    
MLS teams don't spend much on outside backs. They've been only marginally affected by increases in ...
MLS Positional Rankings: Birnbaum and Van Damme command the centerback slots     
The three-man back line is gaining favor in MLS as well as around the world, but ...
MLS Positional Rankings: Lodeiro and Piatti dominate the flanks    
Not many MLS teams field a truly dominant winger or wide midfielder; two that did, Seattle ...
MLS Positional Rankings: Kljestan, Felipe, Alonso top the midfield slots    
For players who toil in the middle of the park, roles and classifications often overlap as ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives