KC NWSL to build new stadium in Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City NWSL stated today, in a news release, that it would build a new soccer stadium at Berkley Riverfront Park in Kansas City, Missouri.

The team currently plays its matches at the Legends Field in Kansas City, Kansas, sharing the field with the Kansas City Monarchs baseball team.

According to a spokesman for the club, the new $70 million stadium would be the first soccer stadium built for that purpose for a National Women’s Soccer League team.

It has been just over 10 months since the group was awarded a franchise, according to a spokesman.

Today’s announcement follows previously released plans for a privately-funded $15 million training facility in Riverside, Missouri, and plans to play home matches during the 2022 season at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas. Kansas City NWSL is nearing the end of its inaugural season of play and will be in action for its final match at Legends Field on Saturday, Oct. 30.

“From the beginning, our vision has been to create a player-first experience, and facilities for our team that match not only the elite level of these incredible athletes, but also the passionate support of the Kansas City metro and our fans,” said KC NWSL co-founder and co-owner Chris Long, in a news release. “We believe this significant investment and commitment will shape a stronger future for our entire region and our athletes.”

With final designs still in development, the estimated $70 million project will be entirely privately financed through the ownership group, with the team signing a 50-year lease for Parcel 8, the 7.08-acre site on the east end of the Berkley Riverfront in Kansas City, Missouri. Primary design and construction partners include Kansas City-based Generator Studio, JE Dunn and Monarch Build.

“As a sports fan and a father, I am so proud that Kansas City will make history in having a world-class facility dedicated to women in sport and that the project will be a centerpiece of our beautiful riverfront redevelopment,” said Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas, in the news release.

“The goals for reclaiming our long-neglected riverfront have been bold but clear – develop a connected, accessible, vibrant and diverse neighborhood,” said Port KC President and CEO Jon Stephens, in the news release. “Anchoring a dynamic facility such as this on the downtown riverfront, and connecting it to the heart of our city with the KC Streetcar, trails and greenspace not only solidifies our commitment, but also proves that there is no better place for our community and the world to gather.”

“World-class facilities have proven to be a catalyst in transforming all professional sports,” said KC NWSL co-founder and co-owner Angie Long in the news release. “Tremendous momentum exists in women’s sports specifically, and we are so proud to play a major role in ensuring the sport and also our region benefit from the economics and growth offered by a stadium of this magnitude.”

KC NWSL ties Gotham, 1-1

Kansas City NWSL took on NJ-NY Gotham Friday at Legends Field as it picked up its seventh-straight positive result at home.

Although Gotham was able to capitalize first in the 25th minute from forward Margaret Purce, Kansas City battled back to earn a penalty kick that captain and defender Kristen Edmonds slotted home to equalize the game at 1-1 and notch her first goal of the season.

The result held after the full 90 minutes with both teams leaving with a point in the standings.

Edmonds gave credit to forward Kristen Hamilton for pressing in the attack on the Gotham defense and creating the penalty kick opportunity for her to take with ease.

“I was pretty confident going into that PK and knew I had to put it away,” she said.

Kansas City came out sharp in the attack as midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta slipped a ball into a slashing forward Darian Jenkins who slotted a ball on top of the six-yard box, but no one was there to tap it home. Kansas City went on to hold majority of possession in the first half.

Despite Kansas City keeping the pressure on in the attack, Gotham was able to strike first in the 25th minute when midfielder McCall Zerboni picked off a KC pass and then slotted Purce into the final third who sent into the net to get the first score of the game.

The “next-play” mindset showed for Kansas City when not even a minute later they created a dangerous chance when the ball bounced to defender Kate Del Fava’s foot, and she fired a low-driven shot to the near post that went just wide of the net.

The Kansas City attack did not let down as Hamilton found herself on a breakaway in the 43rd minute but chipped the ball slightly over the top of the net. Hamilton made up for the miss 30 seconds later when she battled to win a penalty kick. Edmonds took to the spot and calmly slotted the ball to the left side of the net to even the game at 1-1 just before the half.

The second half saw more Kansas City attacks as they continued to keep the ball down deep in Gotham’s half and create chances that were near goals. One of these near makes was in the 61st minute when LaBonta crossed a dart to midfielder Addie McCain’s foot who redirected it at the net, but Gotham goalkeeper Didi Haracic was able to sprawl to keep it out.

Although Kansas City led in shots (16) compared to Gotham (14), KC was unable to find the back of the net for the game-winner, ending the second half scoreless on both sides for a final score of 1-1.

Kansas City will stay home for the final match of the inaugural season at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, at Legends Field in Kansas City, Kansas, to face off against OL Reign. Kansas City will celebrate Fan Appreciation Night. For tickets and information visit KCWoSo.com.

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USWNT controls but can’t break through against South Korea, 0-0

South Korea defender Lim Seon-joo slid in to disrupt forward Alex Morgan’s shot on goal in the U.S. women’s national team’s 0-0 draw against South Korea. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

The pent-up, explosive energy in the massed fans at sold-out Children’s Mercy Park needed just one goal from the U.S. women’s national soccer team to set it off. The goal never came, but the excitement hummed on throughout the fast-paced, scoreless draw against the the South Korea women’s national team.

The U.S. had plenty of chances throughout the match, taking 19 shots and getting eight of them on frame, forcing South Korea goalkeeper Yoon Young-geul to save shot after shot to preserve the shutout.

The U.S. got good opportunities early on crosses from Megan Rapinoe on the left side to Alex Morgan in the middle.

The best chance in the first half came from Morgan in the 20th minute. She took a pass from Tobin Heath and dribbled past a defender to go one-on-one against Yoon, but the goalkeeper closed down the space and covered the shot.

A cross from Rapinoe in the 30th minute led to a flurry of three shots in front of the South Korea goal, but Yoon knocked away the first attempt, and two others were blocked before Korea cleared the ball.

Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, also the goalkeeper for Kansas City’s NWSL squad, was not under heavy fire, but made a diving save to stave off a South Korea shot in the 35th minute.

At the half, U.S. head coach and Kansas City resident Vlatko Andonovski subbed off Rapinoe and two others to get more of his team into the action. Kristie Mewis and Sophia Smith came into the match and continued the offensive intensity from the whistle.

The second half’s best chance came in the 50th minute, when Mewis blasted a shot that narrowly cleared the crossbar.

In the 63rd minute, U.S. team icon Carli Lloyd entered the game, earning a thunderous round of applause. Lloyd recently announced her retirement from competitive soccer at the end of the month, making this her penultimate match.

In the final minutes, the U.S. women crossed the ball repeatedly into the center, trying to connect with Lloyd for a game-winner. The connections were narrowly missed or were cleared away by the Korea defenders, and the match ended with a draw.

This was a “friendly” between the two squads, that is, the result doesn’t count toward the World Cup or other international competitions. The two sides will meet up again on Oct. 26 in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The match also showcased Kansas City for officials from FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, which is evaluating potential sites for the 2026 World Cup. The prospective World Cup match would take place in Arrowhead Stadium, and the event would make extensive use of Children’s Mercy Park and the Pinnacle training facility in Kansas City, Kansas.

USWNT and KC NWSL goalkeeper Adrianna Franch saluted the crowd after the match. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
U.S. forward Carli Lloyd headed the ball on goal in the second half. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
South Korea midfielder Yeo Min-ji saluted the crowd after the match. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)


Many young fans sported gear for popular forward Alex Morgan. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)


American flags flew throughout the stadium. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)


Midfielder Rose Lavelle won a header over South Korea defender Jang Sei-gi. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)


Forward Carli Lloyd’s shot was blocked late in the match. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)


Forward Sophia Smith and South Korea’s Cho Soh-yun went up for a header. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)


Hon Hye-ji disrupted a run from forward Sophia Smith. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)


Midfielder Rose Lavelle pivoted away from goal to get the ball past South Korea defender Jang Sei-gi. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)


Forward Mallory Pugh raced toward the goal. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)


South Korea goalkeeper Yoon Youg-geul pounced on a ball in the 6-yard box. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)


Midfielder Lindsay Horan headed a shot on the South Korea goal. Horan was recognized before the match for her 100th appearance for the U.S. women’s team. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)


Defender Kelley O’Hara played a ball in to the South Korea goal. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)


Defender Casey Krueger was well defended as she approached the South Korea goal. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)