Kansas City Star: Why a KCK spot is key to the future of the U.S. men's soccer program
National Training & Coaching Development Center will become the official training site for Sporting KC and feature the Children’s Mercy Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center
By Vahe Gregorian
Since the fiasco last month that eliminated the U.S. men’s soccer team from playing in the 2018 World Cup, chaos and panic have defined the state of the program.
Two coaches have been purged in less than a year, federation president Sunil Gulati’s job seems in jeopardy, and disarray is obscuring any traction or trajectory the team seemed to be on since qualifying for every World Cup from 1990 to 2014.
With faith hard to come by, hope in the unseen improbably has been bubbling up in Kansas City, Kan., between Parallel Parkway and Schlitterbahn, framed by such landmarks as the Dairy Farmers of America building and a Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers.
In other words, a fine spot for sprouting a field of dreams.
Lots of ’em, actually.
The 80,000 square foot National Training and Coaching Development Center, an estimated $80 million public/private partnership between Sporting Club, Children’s Mercy and the state of Kansas, is scheduled to open in the first week of December.
photo by Allison Long
Learn more about the Sports Medicine Center set to open this spring at the National Training & Coaching Development Center from Dr. Kevin Latz, Section Chief, Sports Medicine Center at Children's Mercy:
“Our partnership with Sporting Kansas City has helped bring us into the major league, and this will be no different,” said Dr. Kevin Latz. “What we’ve done is married a true physical therapy gym with a place where athletes can exercise as well. It’s a unique area that allows us to rehab a student athlete from an injury or a surgery, but also work on a healthy athlete’s fitness.”
The gym will have 2,000 square feet of synthetic turf and a variety of equipment for all Children’s Mercy sports medicine patients — not just those who play soccer. There will be a basketball hoop with a small court, sleeves for a volleyball net, and a pitcher’s mound situated below a batting cage that drops from the ceiling.
More than ever before, we will be able to simulate the game environment prior to the athlete returning to the real field of play.
“We will have much more machinery and a tremendous amount of free space where we can work with groups of six or eight athletes and put them through drills together as a team,” Dr. Latz said. “More than ever before, we will be able to simulate the game environment prior to the athlete returning to the real field of play.”
Learn more about the services offered by the Sports Medicine Center at Children's Mercy.