Much like the winning drivers at Kansas Speedway next door, Sporting Kansas City is taking a victory lap.
Firmly planted in Kansas City with a state-of-the-art soccer venue and a first class practice facility and fields, Sporting Kansas City steered the area to another level with an announcement Wednesday of a proposed National Training and Coaching Development Facility in Kansas City, Kan.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback was on hand for the formal announcement at Sporting Park before Sporting KC took the field for an international friendly match against Manchester City FC.
Brownback praised the efforts of all parties involved with finalizing the soccer village that’s expected to cost more than $75 million to build. Construction is expected to begin this fall.
“Sports is a front window for a community, for a state,” said Gov. Brownback. “To have soccer, being here and so well-represented, is a beautiful front window for us to show this country and the world. I’m very enthusiastic about it.”
The facility will be built on the corner of 98th and Parallel, which borders the northern edge of the Schlitterbahn Water Park, and will be made possible through a combination of "private participation through land transactions" and sales tax revenue (STAR) bonds.
A full-service 125-room hotel is also planned for the complex along with 16 fields, eight professional smart fields and eight youth fields.
Robb Heineman, one of the Sporting KC owners, hopes the training facilities are finished in time for the U.S. team to train for the 2016 CopaAmerica soccer tournament.