‘The goal is to win’: Gold Cup trophy stops in Kansas City ahead of CONCACAF tournament

Sporting KC

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The road to the CONCACAF Gold Cup will come through Kansas City.

In just over two weeks, 16 teams will compete in the tournament’s group stage, with several playing at Children’s Mercy Park. Soccer fans can expect to see the United States, Canada, Martinique and a preliminary round qualifier face off in Kansas City, Kansas.

The top two national teams in each group advance. The final will be held August 1 in Las Vegas.

On Tuesday, the Gold Cup trophy made a stop at Sporting Kansas City’s practice facility, bringing back nostalgia for those who got to suit up for the red, white and blue.

“Being able to win it in front of a pro-Mexican crowd at Soldier Field. All those emotions kind of come back when I see this trophy. It’s just an exciting time,” Sporting KC director of technical operations Benny Feilhaber said.

“When we won that, it gave us a huge boost of confidence saying, ‘Hey we’ve got to get over the fact that we’re just surviving and competing. We’ve got to start winning,” Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said.

Feilhaber competed for the U.S. National Team in two Gold Cups and one World Cup. Vermes also spent time with the U.S. team, playing in the 1990 World Cup and 1991 Gold Cup.

Both have high hopes for Team U.S.A’s upcoming World Cup qualifying matches.

“I’m excited for the tournament. I’m excited to see this new young batch of players that are finally going to play in a competitive tournament together for a full month,” Feilhaber said.

“I think at the end, the goal is to win. Everything else kind of falls off of it. So you’ve got to go and try to win it and if you do, all those are lasting experiences that are going to help you to continue to move forward,” Vermes added.

Sixty payers were recently named to Team U.S.A.’s preliminary roster, including two Sporting players — goalkeeper Tim Melia and midfielder Gianluca Busio.

Teams will submit their 23-man rosters by June 30. Games at Children’s Mercy Park start July 11.

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