KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Several business leaders and politicians unveiled plans Wednesday for a new “soccer village” in Wyandotte County. The group addressed the media before Sporting Kansas City's soccer match against Manchester City Wednesday night.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman, Kansas City, Kansas Mayor Mark Holland, and representatives from EPR Properties and Schlitterbahn announced the plans for the “National Training and Coaching Development Center,” slated to go up next to the massive waterpark and near Legends, off Parallel Parkway and 98th Street.
STAR bonds will fund the $75 million plus project, and Gov. Brownback said there will not be an increase in sales tax. The facility will include about 100,000 square feet for an indoor facility with a practice field, eight lighted professional smart fields, and eight youth fields. The complex will also include a 125-room full-service hotel.
Organizers said the complex is expected to have an economic impact exceeding $1 billion. They say the center will bring in tens of thousands of coaches from around the country, who will come to KCK to learn how to better coach and to get licenses. They also said kids will be able to see the U.S. National Team practice and play.
“The greatest thing for us to happen is for the national team to win a World Cup, and that’s the singular goal as a soccer nation. For us to be a player in that, and to have an asset like this facility here in Kansas City, is a huge thing,” Heineman said.
“We’ve been committed to bringing world-class destination to Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Kansas has already built a development out west that is the number one tourist attraction not only in the state, but in the region,” Mayor Holland said. “It’s the world’s game. It’s the beautiful game. It’s growing in this country and young people now have something to which they can aspire. They have world-class, Major League Soccer right here in Kansas City, Kansas. They can look across and see the national training center and say, 'I want to represent this community, I want to represent this country in winning the World Cup.'”
Holland said the turning over of dollars in the community is what economic development is all about.
“The Legends alone has over a thousand jobs. Cerner with 4,000 jobs. The casino with nearly 1,000 jobs. The jobs that this has brought to our community has been exponential. The jobs are big. The other piece from the Kansas City Kansans perspective is the opportunity to bring more visitors in to our destination area, to go to Schlitterbahn, to go the Legends, to go to soccer games.”