The Major League Soccer All Star Game team was arriving in Kansas City Monday as the hype and festivities grow for Wednesday’s big game.
Sporting KC Coach Peter Vermes, who will coach the All Star team, told national and international media how proud he was about the success of soccer in Kansas City.
Vermes has been in Kansas City since the team was called The Wizards, and played in Arrowhead Stadium.
He said the 80,000 seat venue dwarfed whatever crowd came out to see the team.
Also, the team catered more to the city’s soccer-moms and youth than a serious fan base.
That all changed, Vermes says, when the local, media-savvy team of owners built the new Sporting KC Stadium, and began a successful marketing campaign.
Today, the team plays before consistently sold out crowds, and is first in its division.
“(It’s) really unimaginable. If you told me back then that this is the case now I would’ve told you you’re nuts," says Vermes. "Never had the crowd or enthusiasm we have today.”
The All Star players meet Team Roma on Wednesday night at the Sporting KC Park.
Three Kansas City players will be on the starting roster.