This site was introduced to me recently by a friend, and I was asked if I would like to contribute with my views and experience as a soccer fan. STOP, don’t leave! The selling point was that “you know more about soccer than anyone I know”, so I have that going for me.
I live, breath, bleed and die Kansas City sports. My first sports memory is watching Game 7 in 1985 with my dad. I had Chiefs season tickets for over 25 years and still attend most of the games each year. I was there for Lin Elliot, Tony G’s touchdown catch that wasn’t, the “no punt” game and every other heartbreaking ending the Chiefs has put us through. I watch nearly every Royals game and was lucky enough to go to many playoff games over the past two years.
I also have had Wizards and now Sporting season tickets since the team began playing in 1996. I was an early member and president of the supports group named the Cauldron that many of you may have heard of, and am an avid US Men’s National Team fan. Oh, and I play way too many fantasy sports.
I, except for that part about soccer, am just like you. If I didn’t lose you with that soccer part, I’m glad you are still here. Thanks for that.
My hope is that the fine people of Kansas City will enjoy my opinions on the sport and how it relates to the city that we love. Some of you may not have noticed but in the last 10 years Kansas City has become one of the hotbeds of soccer in America. We’ve all heard the statistics about so many kids playing soccer, ratings increasing especially for big games, and so on. While I do enjoy stats, I think pictures speak volumes…
Thousands of Kansas Citians, many of them your friends or coworkers, gather to provide passionate support for Sporting every week at Children’s Mercy Park (formerly Sporting Park, formerly Livestrong Park…) and do things like this. Every game has at least 20,000 fans which is more than the stated capacity of 18,467, including 2,500 that pack into the north end known as The Cauldron. That looks fun, doesn’t it? It is, come join us.
Kansas City is a hidden gem when it comes to soccer experiences in the United States. I have traveled to over 20 stadiums to watch soccer across the United States and Europe. Only a couple rival the support that our city gives our local and national teams every single game. If you have yet to visit the stadium I highly encourage you to do so, even if you don’t like soccer all that much the experience itself is a great one for anyone that loves sporting events. The Sporting staff do a great job of game day production from dramatic player intro videos, guest introductions by locals such as Tech N9ne, fireworks, flyovers and fan displays like the one above.
Enough about introductions, let’s get to the heart of the topic. We like winners, right? Well, we just may have one on our hands this year. Sporting is off to an unexpected 3-0 start that included an opening win in Seattle that is always a difficult place to play. The team followed that up with two exciting home victories and find themselves at the top of the standings. The strong start can be tied to our defense, allowing only one goal in those three games.
April will bring six matches against some very difficult teams including Real Salt Lake, FC Dallas and the New York Red Bulls, who were the top team in MLS last season. It will help that a few key players that have been battling nagging injuries will return to the lineup, as depth has been an issue in past years and was something Head coach and General Manager Peter Vermes worked to improve this offseason. Unfortunately we may have to head into the upcoming difficult stretch without our captain, and locally born, Matt Besler as he suffered a concussion in practice this week while with the US National Team.
In my next article I will dive into the team, the coaching staff, and everything you need to know to talk to that one annoying buddy you have that won’t stop talking about soccer. I will also touch on the US Men’s and Women’s national teams because who doesn’t love rooting for the good ol’ Red, White and Blue? My hope is that I can bring you into the sport I love the most and entertain you a bit along the way.
You can find me on twitter @benc1357, give me a follow and we can discuss anything Kansas City sports or fantasy sports related.
Follow us on Twitter: @KCSportsNation
Like us on Facebook
Follow Benjamin Cunningham on Twitter