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soccer

Segment 1: How soccer came to Kansas City.

Despite the local fervor over this year's World Cup, soccer wasn't always popular in Kansas City. We find out how immigrant families helped popularize the sport back in the 1950's and learn how our city's professional scene has changed over the years.

Sophia Tulp / KCUR 89.3

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church has been a little rowdier than you might expect a church to be this summer.

Every time the Croatian national team has played a World Cup match, generations of Croatian families have crammed inside a small bar in the basement. Hundreds more take seats throughout the building, spilling over into the bowling alley one room over and filling the gym upstairs.

SUZANNE HOGAN/KCUR

The 2018 World Cup begins Thursday in Moscow, Russia, with a match between the host nation and Saudi Arabia, and Kansas City soccer fans may be feeling a bit shut out. 

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

Johnny Duker speaks soccer.

“Soccer is, I guess, a language that most of us anywhere in the world, people can relate and speake to,” says Duker, who moved to Lee Summit from Ghana when he was 12.

He says soccer helped him make friends in a new country.

CREDIT DAVID JONES/FLICKR -- CC

Kansas City could see World Cup soccer action in 2026 now that FIFA has officially selected the "United Bid" of Canada, Mexico and the United States to host the event eight years from now.

The FIFA Congress selected the United Bid over a bid from Morocco in a 134-65 vote early Wednesday morning. Kansas City is among 23 cities listed in the bid as candidate cities to host some of the 80 matches that will be played in the three countries over the course of the event.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

Updated Dec. 1 with score of semifinal, date of title game — The undefeated Central Missouri Jennies women’s soccer team is hoping to earn its first NCAA Division II national championship.

But this season, which continues Saturday with the title game matchup against Carson-Newman, wasn’t without challenges: The team has been affected by an increasing national trend from high school athletics to the pros — concussions.

Keith Stanfield

Oct 20, 2017
Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

He started playing the violin at age 3, then he taught himself how to play soccer at 12. Meet local violinist Keith Stanfield, who not only went to music school, but he also played soccer for Western Samoa's World Cup team.

Guest:

Sporting Kansas City will have its players back from international duty for its final game of the regular season at Real Salt Lake on Sunday. Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and Benny Feilhaber—the three Sporting players on the U.S. team—faced disappointment after the team failed to qualify for the World Cup.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City, Kansas officially has a new soccer complex. It is part of a move to bolster the city's position as a soccer capitol.  

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

For the second year in a row and third time in the last four years, the Rockhurst University men’s soccer team advanced to the NCAA Division II semifinal matches. Only this time it was practically in the Hawks’ back yard at Swope Park Village.

The Hawks had everything they wanted, including a raucous group of blue-clad students in the stands, with hopes of reaching the title match for the first time in program history.

Except for the win.

bluhawk.com

Just think, for a moment, about how many great sports stories begin with an open field, or an empty stretch of asphalt. Maybe a cornfield. An old sandlot.

Leicester City Football Club

Yes, the Royals are back, flashing the magic that made them World Series champs, Sporting KC’s cruising along at the top of the standings, and fans across Kansas City are feeling blue—in that good way that we’re almost used to by now.

Which is why I want to talk about Lester.

Who’s Lester? Exactly. But if you don’t know, then you’re missing the greatest underdog story in the history of sports.

Laura Gilchrist / Flickr -- CC

Professional soccer club Sporting Kansas City announced on Thursday that the name of its home field in Kansas City, Kansas, will be changed on January 1, 2016, from Sporting Park to Children’s Mercy Park.

The Kansas City-based pediatric hospital will have exclusive naming rights for the next 10 years. The financial terms weren’t disclosed, but Children’s Mercy will also expand its partnership with Sporting Kansas City in other ways.

One night after Sporting Kansas City won the U.S. Open Cup, FC Kansas City captured the league championship in women’s professional soccer.

Amy Rodriguez scored in the 78th minute in FC Kansas City’s 1-0 win over the Seattle Reign. It was a rematch of last year’s championship match in the National Women’s Soccer League.

In all three years of the league’s existence, FC Kansas City has reached the title match and has won two straight titles.

Goal

Jun 30, 2015

The US Women's Soccer team is headed to the semi-finals of the World Cup in a high-stakes match against Germany. Four of the team members are from Kansas City. Should we be hearing more about that?

Guests:

  • Yael Averbush, midfielder, FCKC
  • Greg Echlin, sports reporter, KCUR
  • Chandrima Chaterjee, editor, Women United FC

Brent Flanders / Flickr--CC

Of all Sporting Kansas City’s season ticket holders, there are eight times more Johnson County residents than Wyandotte County residents — even though Sporting Park sits in Wyandotte County's largest city, Kansas City, Kansas.

In the breakdown of Sporting KC’s season ticket holders, fans with Wyandotte County addresses account for only 4.5 percent, which ranks fourth among the counties in Kansas City’s metropolitan area.

Katie Brady / Flickr--CC

Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas, is in its fifth season as the home of Sporting Kansas City in Major League Soccer. For the money spent on what is regarded as one of the best soccer venues in the country, very little so far has been invested in Wyandotte County for youth soccer.

But changes are taking place.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Almost 400 youth soccer teams from across the Midwest came to Overland Park, Kansas for the 2015 KC Champions Cup tournament, and that means lots of money went into hotels, restaurants and shops in the area.

Brian Darby owns Coach's Bar & Grill. He said the Champions Cup and other tournaments like it at the Overland Park Soccer Complex bring in customers by the dozens.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

City officials hope nine new soccer fields in Kansas City's urban core can make Swope Park a destination for youth sports.

"So many of these venues are out in the suburban areas as you get over in western Wyandotte County or Overland Park or southeast of here, but you're in the heart of the city right here," says Parks Director Mark McHenry.

Ground crews spent Thursday putting the finishing touches on the new Swope Soccer Village at 63rd Street and Lewis Road. McHenry reaches down and scoops little rubber pieces from the synthetic grass.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

The soccer craze in the Kansas City area wasn’t just captured in the Power & Light District watch parties for the World Cup games.

It’s evident on full-size soccer fields on both sides of the state line. But the metropolitan area's newest soccer passion may be churning up on mini-courts in Kansas City, Kan.

Beth Lipoff / KCUR

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk with Sporting KC player, Chance Myers, for insight on team USA's strategy to move on to the next round and one step closer to the championship.

World Cup: The Next Steps For Team USA

Jun 18, 2014
Copa2014.gov.br / Wikimedia Commons

  The U.S. soccer team no longer carries the specter of a prospective defeat against Ghana--so where does that leave them?

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk with players from Sporting KC and FC Kansas City to get some analysis of the American team's strategies and chances as they move through the World Cup line-up.

Guests:

  • Chance Myers, Sporting KC player
  • Frances Silva, FC Kansas City player

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

Swarms of soccer fans packed the Power and Light District Monday to watch the United States beat Ghana 2-1 in the U.S. team's first World Cup match.

The KC Live Stage was filled to the brim of fans wearing red white and blue, chanting U.S.A., and S.K.C. to cheer for the two Sporting KC players on the team, Matt Besler and Graham Zusi.

Kansas City native, Matt Besler played in the first half but had to leave the game due to a hamstring injury. Graham Zusi was brought in at the 77th minute, and assisted in scoring the second goal that brought the team to victory.

What To Watch For In The World Cup

Jun 9, 2014
Beth Lipoff / KCUR

There will be crowds, cheering and that well-known cry of , "Futbol!" as the FIFA World Cup begins this week.

In the first part of Monday's Up to Date, we talk with Sporting KC's Chance Myers about what to expect from the competition and what U.S. team members-- and Sporting KC players-- Graham Zusi and Matt Besler might face.

Guest:

  • Chance Myers, Sporting KC

The USA team that will participate in the World Cup soccer tournament departed for Brazil Sunday night.

Kansas City soccer fans will have a watchful eye on this team with two players from Sporting Kansas City on the roster. Seventeen-year-old Ady Barraza, a soccer player at Olathe Northwest High School, was at the Overland Park Soccer complex over the weekend along with other teens trying out for club teams. While trying to map out their own futures, they’re in tune to what will be happening at the World Cup in Brazil.

vanderlanos / Flickr--CC

A new sport is catching on across the United States, and soon you will be able to play in Kansas City. The sport will make its Missouri debut at the city-owned Heart of America Golf Academy at Swope Park in Kansas City, Mo.

FootGolf has been gaining popularity since its inception in Europe around 2008. According the the sport's Wikipedia page, the first ever FootGolf tournament was organized in the Netherlands in 2009.

Sporting KC: An Entertainment Business

Mar 5, 2014
Wikimedia / Creative Commons

Sporting KC kicked off its 2014 season with a 1-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC on March 8.

On today's Central Standard we discuss the entertainment aspect of a franchise that has become a business model for soccer clubs across the country.

Guests:

  • Jake Reid, chief revenue officer for Sporting KC
  • Thad Bell, managing editor for The Daily Wiz
  • Sean Dane, leader of the KC Cauldron

Kansas City led the way in cities awarded future men's and women's NCAA championships.

Of the 14 NCAA men's and women's championships awarded to Kansas City, 13 are scheduled for soccer venues built within the last three years - either at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., or the new Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Mo.

The most significant announcement centers around the Division II football championship. It will be played at Sporting Park, starting next year and running through 2017.

Brent Flanders / Flickr-CC

There's a flurry of professional sports activity in Kansas City this weekend, but it's not for a football game. Soccer is taking center stage. 

On Saturday, Sporting Kansas City will host Real Salt Lake at Sporting Park for the MLS Cup championship. It’s the first time a championship game has been played in Kansas City, and if Sporting wins, it will be their first title since 2000, when they were still known as the Wizards.

Sporting KC Heads To Championship Game

Nov 25, 2013
Ryan Knapp / Flickr-CC

The roar of the crowd confirmed what Sporting KC did this weekend at Sporting Park: They secured a spot at the MLS Cup being held in Kansas City Dec. 7.

In the second part of Monday's Up to Date, KCUR's Greg Echlin joins us to give a preview for that game.

Guest:

  • Greg Echlin, KCUR sports reporter

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