KANSAS CITY, Kan. — As COVID-19 cases surged in March Major League Soccer paused the season. Some fans feared that the end of the season had come early.
Fast forward to August and Sporting KC was back hosting games at Children’s Mercy Park.
Like most of the professional sports leagues in the U.S., Major League Soccer imposed stringent COVID regulations on all of the football clubs. Due to the unending work of hundreds of unsung heroes, Sporting KC was able to continue the rest of the season without a coronavirus outbreak.
Stadium General Manager James Gregoire said preparation and planning led to their success.
“Every way! COVID has painted everything from when you park to coming in the building, but you know, we put together a solid plan in the beginning and adapted where necessary. I think everybody feels safe, and it’s just ready to have a good time.“ Gregoire said.
COVID-19 restrictions begin in the parking lot, where cars are spaced one empty lot apart. All guests had to pass a temperature check and a questionnaire before gaining admittance into the stadium. Masks were required at all times except for when eating and drinking, and attendance was limited to 18%.
All of these changes allowed Sporting KC to have a season. Gregoire said watching the team play feels like a reward for their hard work.
“This is why we do what we do. I mean we love working in sports and games like this are the payoff of all the hard work, particularly in a season like this.” Gregoire said.
“Number one rule in the press box is no cheering, which can be awfully difficult when you put as much time and effort into the team as all of us do here at sport in Kansas City.” Kurt Austin, Director of Communications, said. “To be in the press box and see an important goals scored like we had in our first playoff game, you’ve always got to try and keep those emotions in check but inside you’re rooting pretty hard.”
Sporting KC’s season came to an end Thursday after they lost to Minnesota United 3-0 in the Conference Semi-finals. Although the team finished short of its ultimate goal, amazing work by those behind the scenes allowed Sporting KC to have a great season.