Kansas City is about to become the center of soccer training in the United States. An exciting new training facility, a joint project of Sporting Kansas City, local government, and Children’s Mercy Hospital, will be the most advanced facility of its kind in America.
The estimated $80 million dollar project, funded largely through sales tax revenue bonds, was designed by Kansas City-based sports architecture firm Populous, and is scheduled to open December 15.
Though the building and fields will serve as the primary training facility for MLS side Sporting Kansas City, it will also play an important role in the development of the national soccer program. The facility will serve as the national Training and Coaching Development Center for U.S. Soccer, and the national governing body will maintain a full-time staff on site.
It is also expected that U.S. Soccer will use the facility regularly for training for both men’s and women’s national teams, as well as national youth teams.
Coaches of the national teams will have the option of training at the facility, but Sporting KC CEO Robb Heineman told the Kansas City Star, “the great thing is we had a lot of great collaboration with the coaches, and we’ve tried to accommodate their wants and desires. Our belief is that this will be a superior option to anything they have, and therefore it will be a first-choice pick for them.” It is also hoped that the facility could result in more national team games for nearby Children’s Mercy Park.
The 80,000-square foot main building at the site will be a complete training facility, including player lounges, classrooms, film rooms, dining rooms and a cafeteria. It will also feature an attached sports medicine and rehabilitation center, and an 8,000-square foot gym with hydrotherapy pools.
The facility will also have a unique “coaching laboratory,” with two synthetic turf fields with LED sports lighting surrounding a two story “coaching pavilion.” Each field will be observable from a second story classroom inside the central pavilion, as well as from a spacious rooftop observation deck with camera positions.
The facility will also utilize the latest technology, including fiber-optic cable surrounding the perimeter of both fields, allowing multiple cameras and microphones to capture on-field coaching sessions for training purposes.
There will also be dedicated locker rooms at the facility for the US national teams, national team coaches, the Sporting KC first team, its coaches, and two for participants in the training and education programs.
In addition to the impressive main building and coaching pavilion and attached fields, there are plans for 12 youth fields at the site, and two additional professional sized fields.
The current plan is for Sporting Kansas City to move to the training facility prior to the 2018 season, but for U.S. Soccer training to begin there immediately after its opening.
“This facility is unbelievable. It really is,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes told the Kansas City Star. “I think it’s going to wind up being a great recruiting tool in the future, as well, because there’s not going to be another one like it in this country.”
Image courtesy Sporting KC.