The game’s afoot for Kansas City, Kansas, to pursue large soccer events. Wyandotte Sporting Fields, a 12-field complex brought to life by Sporting Kansas City opened in June. Later this winter, the National Training and Coaching Development Center will debut.
“Our area needed soccer fields,” explains Justin Stine, CSEE, meetings and sports sales manager at Kansas City, Kansas CVB. “These 12 fields are a game changer. They give us an opportunity to go after a market we really haven’t gone after aggressively because we didn’t have the facilities.”
Stine, who previously spent more than five years at Overland Park CVB, doesn’t envision a rivalry with the suburban Kansas City destination. Instead, Stine envisions teaming with Overland Park to entice very large tournaments to the region. In a perfect world, he says, one event’s games could be played at Scheels Overland Park Soccer Complex and at Wyandotte.
“It allows tournament direct directors to further grow their product,” he says.
Sporting Kansas City, the area’s Major League Soccer team, will operate both facilities. It plans to use the venue as the training base for its academy members. Stine and the CVB will work with the club to fill out the calendar with national and international events. Sporting KC projects 1.3 million visitors to use the facility annually.
Eight of Wyandotte Sporting Fields’ 12 fields are lined with synthetic turf and have lighting. Stine anticipates attracting rugby and lacrosse because of the complex’s versatility.
One mile west will sit the National Training and Coaching Development Center, providing an educational component opportunity to youth events. The site will host seminars and clinics, complimenting the work of the Kansas City, Missouri-based National Soccer Coaches Association of America.