KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Kansas Governor Sam Brownback joined Sporting Club, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and representatives from Schlitterbahn Water Park and EPR Properties to announce during a press conference on Wednesday that the National Soccer Training Center and Coaching Development Center will open up in Kansas City, Kansas.
Soccer fans in the metro loved the u-s men's national team and its success in the world cup. Now following the Gov. Brownback’s big announcement, they'll get an even bigger taste of the sport. This news is so big for Kansas City’s soccer community, that one Sporting Kansas City staffer said it was like adding an additional pro club.
If you don't believe Kansas City is a soccer town, then don't mention it to Mike Laplante. He's the operations manager at the Overland Park Soccer Complex in nearby Johnson County, where every summer weekend his fields are filled with kids from all over the United States who love to kick and run.
“A lot of parents here grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when soccer was starting to become popular in the states. As a result, they want the same for their kids,” said Laplante.
According to a release by Sporting KC, the state-of-the-art $75-plus million soccer facility, which will be located at the southeast corner of Parallel Parkway and 98th Street, will include approximately 100,000 square feet for an indoor facility complete with a practice field, eight lighted professional smart fields and eight youth fields. Additional amenities will include a climate-controlled indoor pavilion and specialized facilities tailored toward strength and nutrition, hydration, sports science, health and wellness, video and analytics. The complex will also feature a 125-room full-service hotel.
“Anytime US Soccer gets behind something, it's a pretty big deal,” said Laplante. “Bringing the national training center to this area will not only help the sport grow, but it will give kids a firsthand look at what it will take to get to that top level. “
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback said he supports the plan, which will use as much as $60 million in Star Bond money to build. And the plan sounds appetizing to restaurant owner Ron Laffoon. His family has operated the Frontier Steakhouse on State Avenue since 1960. He's watched his business reap the rewards of traffic from Sporting KC games, which take place less than two miles down the road from his business.
“Every night, when we go home, it's just a bumper-to-bumper traffic flow. It's amazing for what's going on right now,” said Laffoon. “It can only add to what's happening with the track, the Legends, the casino. Everything is good for Wyandotte County and the U.G.”
Sporting KC'S connection with U.S. National Soccer was announced last April, but no one had identified a location for the center until recently.