Sporting KC Academy and Youth Soccer announced today the launch of the Sporting Development League, a new player development platform featuring the Sporting KC Academy and Academy Affiliate clubs from across the region.
“The Sporting Development League is designed to promote a professional environment with the players-first mentality,” said Sporting KC Academy Director Jon Parry. “We are creating an atmosphere that will encourage long-term player development and provide a true pathway for players to reach the next level.”
Set to kick off later this summer, the Sporting Development League will consist of eight clubs each at the boys U-13 and U-14 levels. The top-level teams from each club will play a seven-game season from August to November with a flexible schedule that offers freedom to participate in additional leagues and tournaments throughout the fall.
Sporting Development League Teams (U-13 & U-14)
- Sporting KC Academy (MO) *
- Sporting Missouri Valley (MO)
- Sporting St. Louis (MO)
- Sporting Springfield (MO)
- Sporting United (KS/MO)
- Sporting Blue Valley (KS)
- Sporting Iowa (IA)
- Sporting Omaha (NE)
* Sporting KC Academy U-12s to play in U-13 division
Sporting KC Academy U-13s to play in U-14 division
With a focus on maximizing each player’s potential, the Sporting Development League will provide high-level competition with no league-associated fees for participants. Matches will take place at Sporting KC’s world-class youth soccer facilities in Kansas City, neutral sites and other venues in Academy Affiliate home markets.
“The launch of the Sporting Development League is the next evolution for the Sporting KC Academy Affiliate program, which consists of 16 clubs across eight states,” said Dan Popik, Sporting KC Vice President, Youth Business Development. “This new league platform will provide a competitive environment for our member clubs with a structure that promotes player and team development, education, and advancement opportunities for top players. Over the coming seasons, the vision for the Sporting Development League is to add more age groups, girls divisions, and to include all of our affiliate clubs.”
Players in the Sporting Development League will also have the opportunity to compete for a variety of unique and exclusive experiences. At the end of the season, the league champions in both age groups will be awarded a special gift courtesy of adidas and player awards will be announced for the All-League Team, Golden Ball (Best Player) and Golden Glove (Top Goalkeeper). Additionally, the Sporting Development League All-Star Game will be held at Children’s Mercy Park, the state-of-the-art home stadium of MLS club Sporting Kansas City, at the conclusion of the season.
In addition to the Sporting KC Academy and six Academy Affiliate clubs, Sporting United will participate in the Sporting Development League and feature a collection of urban players from Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas, along with select players from the non-participating Academy Affiliate clubs. Sporting United will be coached by former Sporting KC Academy player Hector Solorio Jr. and will play its games at Swope Soccer Village with no associated cost for the club’s participation in the league.
More information about the Sporting Development League—including league rules and match schedules—will be available in the near term at SportingKCYouth.com and SportingKCAcademy.com.
“We are excited to be a part of the Sporting Development League heading into 2020. This league will provide our teams a unique platform to further their development against some of the best competition within our affiliate programs. Our leadership team at Sporting St. Louis is always looking for ways to provide opportunities that will challenge and grow our players and coaches in a collaborative way.”
– Dan Donigan, Technical Director, Sporting St Louis
“Sporting Omaha FC is excited to participate in the Sporting Development League. We appreciate the high level of competition, excellent facilities, zero registration cost to our members and a development-focused mindset in the league.”
– Karl Ostrand, Director of Operations, Sporting Omaha FC
“Sporting Iowa is extremely excited to participate in the new Sporting Development League. This league is just one of many opportunities our affiliation provides for our club and our families. We are proud and grateful to be the first and only club in Iowa to be selected for this elite league. Having the chance to compete against an MLS Academy is an unrivaled experience that our players and coaches will benefit greatly from. We want to thank Sporting Kansas City for continuing to provide avenues and experiences to further develop our players.”
– Rich Bywater, Technical Director, Sporting Iowa
“The Sporting Development League is designed to promote a professional environment with the players-first mentality. We are creating an atmosphere that will encourage long-term player development and provide a true pathway for players to reach the next level.”
– Jon Parry, Director of Coaching, Sporting Blue Valley
“We are extremely honored to be a part of the Sporting Development League. It is another bonus of being part of the Sporting Affiliate network, and we can’t wait to get started. The fact that it gives our U-13 and U-14 players the opportunity to play more high-level games within our region is something that excites us.”
– Chris Dean, Director of Coaching, Sporting Missouri Valley
“The Sporting Development League will give our players and parents a different taste to the game. This league will prioritize the players and their development on the field. We are excited to be a member of the league.”
– Hector Solorio Jr, Head Coach, Sporting United
“The Sporting Development League is going to be a fantastic opportunity for us to provide high-level competition in a controlled environment with like-minded organizations. The focus on player development is a driving force for joining the league, but maintaining a competitive environment that rewards players is vital. Players will be pushed and challenged to constantly improve their execution on the field, but also see the rewards for their growth. Here at Sporting Springfield, we have always looked for ways to improve what we offer families, and this additional platform is a big statement in delivering on this goal. We look forward to competing in this high-standard and high-level league.”
– Eric Sorlie, Executive Director of Coaching, Sporting Springfield