Sporting KC Keeps Busy During Offseason

Livestrong drama, the MLS SuperDraft and more highlight latest offseason moves
by Brandon Arendt   |   Monday, January 21, 2013

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

After barely two seasons as stadium sponsor, Livestrong and Sporting KC have parted ways in unceremonious fashion. The ‘divorce’ has not been pretty as both organizations are pointing the finger and placing blame on the other.

Livestrong is claiming that Sporting Club only paid $250,000 of the $1 million that it owed the charitable foundation in 2012. The cancer-support foundation said that “failure to make the foundation whole within two weeks would result in the foundation severing the deal.”

Sporting KC CEO Robb Heinemann shot back in a statement released earlier this week.

“We are disappointed to learn Livestrong is deploying tactics designed to force us into an unacceptable arrangement, after months of good faith discussions in which we believed progress had been made,” Heinemann said.

“We were not expecting the foundation to treat a partner in this manner, especially given the tumultuous environment they have thrust us into over the past year – while we staunchly defended the mission of the foundation," he said. "Our faith and trust in this partnership has been permanently damaged; therefore we are terminating our agreement with Livestrong immediately.”

In the wake of this, nearly all Livestrong signage at Sporting Park has been removed. The former Livestrong Sporting Park website has also been taken down.

With all of the financial blame being thrown around by the Livestrong organization, it is possible that this dispute may have to be settled in court.

Sporting KC select Mikey Lopez in SuperDraft

For the past several years, Sporting Kansas City and Peter Vermes have made a habit of spotting some of the best young talent available and turning them into top notch professionals in Major League Soccer.

In this year’s iteration of the MLS SuperDraft, Sporting used its one and only draft pick to procure 19-year-old midfielder Mikey Lopez from the University of North Carolina.

Lopez has a very impressive soccer resume. He’s currently a member of the U-20 United States Men’s National Team along with Sporting KC teammate Jon Kempin. Of the players called into the U-20 National Team camp, Lopez leads the team with 17 caps. He also has international tournament experience, making appearances in the Northern Ireland Milk Cup and the 2012 Marbella Cup in Spain.

In his two years as a holding midfielder for UNC, Lopez made 46 appearances and tallied five goals and five assists. All while playing a pivotal role in UNC’s 2011 national title run.

Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes made it clear that Lopez is one to look at for the future.

“He fits our ideal situation at the moment,” Vermes said in a statement released after the draft. “We have time that we can bring him along, which is a great thing. I think he has a place where he can grow and develop. We’re excited about the pick”

Lopez, on the other hand, is looking to make an impact much sooner.

“It’s a great team. I’m glad to be going to Sporting Kansas City.” Lopez said. “I feel like I can do well with this team and fit in, and hopefully break into the lineup quickly. So I’m glad that I got chosen by them and that they feel the same way about me. It’s a match made in heaven.”

Ivy Funds announced as club’s first ever jersey sponsor

During the MLS SuperDraft, Sporting Kansas City made club history as it announced that the locally-based investment firm Ivy Funds will become the club’s first ever jersey sponsor.

Ivy Funds is partnering with Sporting Club for a rumored $2.1 million per year deal. Sporting Club CEO and President Heinemann was certainly proud to unveil the new lucrative deal.

Brandon ARENDT

Nationality:
USA
College:
Milwaukee Tech
Club Domestic:
Sporting KC
Club Foreign:
Swansea City
Brandon is a Milwaukee native and the current Sporting Kansas City columnist for Soccer Newsday. He is an avid gamer, unabashed beer snob and has what can best be described as an "unhealthy" addiction to soccer.
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