New Partnerships a Boost For Sporting KC

Two new partnerships look to expand the footprint of Sporting KC through community and soccer
by Katherine Rupp   |   Thursday, September 04, 2014

State of SKC - column on Sporting KC (SKC) & the Kansas City soccer scene.

The last handful of games from Sporting Kansas City hasn’t come with the best results nor has the play on the field been what people expect from the reigning MLS Cup champions.

Most fans and pundits alike expect a more dominant performance, and a match driven from Sporting KC, and that hasn’t happened too often recently. There have been some spells of great player movement, crisp passing, and clean play, but the past few games haven’t been something to write home about. However, off the field, Sporting Kansas City has stayed strong – and grown even stronger, some might say – with some non-soccer playing moves.

As Sporting Kansas City is one of the forerunners of partnerships in MLS as many have seen in the past few years, it comes as no surprise that the club has joined with two other organizations. In addition to the long-standing and well-received Victory Project that is driven by the parent organization, Sporting Club, of Sporting Kansas City, has been a success through helping children that are impacted by cancer. Additionally, the Victory Project – started when the MLS All-Star game was held in Kansas City in 2013 – has launched an initiative to build futsal courts in neighborhoods surrounding the Kansas City area near where Sporting Park is located.

Although not under the same umbrella as the Victory Project, a corporate partnership that was recently announced with Sporting Kansas City is with Park University, which is located in Parkville, Missouri, just a 20-minute drive northeast of Sporting Park. The combination of Sporting Kansas City and Park University brings about a partnership called, ‘Salute to Troops,’ which will feature military appreciation throughout the Sporting community. Similar to the Victory Project’s choice of honoring a child before each game, Salute to Troops will use a ‘Zone of Courage’ section with a military service honoree that will be given the VIP treatment. This partnership aligns the Sporting KC and Park University to not only further strengthen the local feel to the club but also, almost more importantly, to honor, showcase, and highlight the military service members and veterans who protect America’s freedoms.

With a little bit of off-field partnerships, there also comes more partnerships, and in this case, it’s a more on-field affiliation. Sporting Kansas City released the news that, along with Brazilian club, Fluminense FC, would have a partnership including many aspects involving clubs including not just player loans, but also youth player exchanges and business and coaching methods, which would extend to academy staff members. This past winter at the Disney Pro Soccer Classic was the catalyst to the most recent announcement. Additionally, Sporting Kansas City currently has Fluminense FC defender – and Brazil U-20 player – Igor Juliao on loan through the rest of the 2014 calendar year. Because of the broad spectrum of styles that is showcased in football in both the United States and Brazil, this affiliation between the two clubs should, especially in the future, to be a very smart and strategic move to align clubs that make a difference in their respective country’s leagues.

The main focus for Sporting Kansas City is winning games – or at least getting back to winning ways – but hopefully, these two more recent partnerships, especially the affiliation with Fluminense FC, will boost the team to maintain and gain momentum towards the fall of 2014. Although it’s yet to be seen what these new partnerships will do to enhance Sporting Kansas City, but just like the actual business of soccer playing, sometimes the best thing to do is take it one step at a time and it’ll all turn out well in the end.

NEXT UP: September 6 – Sporting Kansas City v. New York Red Bulls, Red Bull Arena, Harrison, New Jersey. 7:30 p.m. EST, NBCSN

Katherine RUPP

Drake University
Club Domestic:
Sporting KC
Club Foreign:
Tottenham Hotspur
Unabashed Minnesotan by birth. Tried reliving the glory days of collegiate intramural soccer championships but an ACL tear dashed future hopes of adult recreational greatness. Covering a city’s team that’s too big for one state: SKC.