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Wizards Sold to Local Group

The fate of the Kansas City Wizards looks just about sealed after nearly two years of uncertainty. The Lamar Hunt family has sold the club to a group led by Cerner Corporation co-founders Neal Patterson and Cliff Illig. Wizards coach Brian Bliss and his players were in jubilant mood as they made their way to a Kansas City suburb to be introduced to the club's new owners. "This is something that has been going on for 20 or 21 months," Bliss said. "In the back of the players' minds, as well as front office and coaches, we never knew if we were going to have an existence beyond the next week or the next month or the next year." Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad, the team's captain echoed his sentiments. "It's amazing because we've been in limbo for almost two years," he said. "It's just nice to know we don't have to worry about moving to Philadelphia or Tulsa or San Antonio. Bliss added that the deal was also a plus for the Hunt family, who were able to sell the club to a local group that wanted to keep the team in Kansas City. Now that ownership has been established, the next task for the club will be to build a soccer-specific stadium in the KC suburb of Overland Park, which is where many of the club's fans come from. "If Johnson County is willing to build a destination spot with youth fields, stadium, retail and entertainment, I think it would be a benefit for everyone, both from an economical and image standpoint," said Bliss. Added Conrad: "Once the public sees the plans that these guys have, it's going to be hard not to want to be part of it."

Read the whole story at MLSNet.com »

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