SBD/July 24, 2014/Facilities

Sporting KC Unveils Plans For Training Center To Serve As Home For National Teams

Sporting KC CEO Robb Heineman last night unveiled plans to construct a $75M-plus, 190-acre National Training & Coaching Development Center that "will serve as a home base for the U.S. Soccer Federation and its national teams," according to a front-page piece by Sam McDowell of the K.C. STAR. The agreement with the USSF "has not yet been finalized, but the federation is discussing a 20-year lease of the facilities with two additional five-year options." Heineman said that he "envisions Sporting Park turning into 'a big-game site' for the men’s and women’s national teams, with both teams regularly using the training center." The men’s, women’s and youth national teams "would train at the site, though it remains to be seen how often." Heineman said that the project, which will be about a 10-minute drive from Sporting Park, "is pending city approval." Plans "call for 16 fields -- eight youth fields and eight lighted professional fields -- and include a state-of-the-art indoor complex with a practice field." Heineman anticipates that construction for the center "will start this fall, with an eye toward completion" before the U.S. hosts the '16 Copa America tournament. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said that the project "would be funded primarily through sales tax revenue, or STAR, bonds, though it won’t require an increase in sales tax." The project also requires "approval from Kansas Secretary of Commerce Pat George." Brownback and George said that they "foresee no obstacles at the state level" (K.C. STAR, 7/24). In K.C., Vahe Gregorian reports the USSF "isn’t moving its home office from Chicago, but it is committed to relocating administrative staff" to K.C. as it consolidates its national training center from "some 30 current sites around the country." Heineman said that the venue's design "will be led" by SKC VP/Development David Ficklin and K.C.-based Populous, which also built Sporting Park (K.C. STAR, 7/24).

SOCCER CITY, USA? The K.C. STAR's Gregorian writes under the header, "Sporting Group’s Latest Vision Further Cements KC’s Soccer-Capital Status." The project shows that the area is an "emerging hub for soccer" in the U.S. The project is "another audacious venture hatched by Sporting Club’s minds," and could make K.C. the "epicenter of soccer in the country" (K.C. STAR, 7/24).
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