Friday, February 25, 2011

 U16s and U18s travel to Dallas

It's been an exciting week for the U18 and U16 Sporting KC Junior clubs. Each team received their fresh kits and gear on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, respectively.
They'll get a chance to don the new SKC kits for the first time when they go to Texas this weekend.
The U16s and U18s will travel to Pizza Hut Park (home of FC Dallas) for some friendlies with the other Junior clubs from Texas, as well as a unique opportunity to face youth teams from Mexico. The U16s will go against Tigres on Saturday and Santos on Sunday (two Mexican clubs). As for the U18s, they will face Monterrey from Mexico and the Houston Dynamo's Juniors on Sunday.
A full schedule of the games with times and fields can be found here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

 U13s and U15s head to St. Louis

The Sporting KC Juniors will be in full action this weekend when the U13 and U15 teams travel to St. Louis to play against the Chicago Magic Pre Academy clubs.
The Magic U13 squad is currently ranked the No. 1 team in Illinois while the Magic U15s were named National Champions last November.
Wish the Juniors luck as they go out and face one of the top clubs in the country.

Monday, February 21, 2011

 National Futsal Tournament Results

Over the weekend, a slew of SKC Junior squads played in the Super F Champions Cup, a National Futsal Tournament. Over 90 teams were there to compete, with over half of them coming from out of state.

The U13, U15 and U16 SKC teams were each split into two separate teams for the tournament and placed in opposite groups. The U13s faced each other in the semifinals of the U14 division. The winning side (Italy) went on to lose in PKs in the final game against FC Black Nights from Boston.

The U15s played in the U16 division. Neither team qualified for the playoffs, but they were both able to keep pace in each game with the older boys.

The U16s played in the High School Boys division. Again, the SKC teams faced each other in the semifinals. The winner (USA) was able to go on and win in the finals against Central Falls Warriors (from Cleveland) pretty handily, 7-1.

Also, make sure to check out The Back Post for pictures, a review of the championship games and an interview with Keith Tozer, the Head Coach of the US Men's National Futsal team, from Friday's clinic.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

 Congrats, Kevin Ellis!

Kevin Ellis, a member of the Juniors program since 2007, was signed by Sporting Kansas City on Friday and joins GK Jon Kempin as the team's second ever Home Grown Player. Congrats, Kevin! Watch the video recap below and read the full story on for more on the Juniors product becoming a professional player for his hometown team.

Friday, February 18, 2011

 National Futsal Tournament

This weekend, the sixth annual Super F Champions Cup will take place in Kansas City with the U16s, U15s and U13s all participating. Tonight, the Sporting KC U16 Juniors will help Keith Tozer, Head Coach of the US Men's National Futsal Team, conduct a futsal training clinic leading up to this weekend's tournament.

The clinic will focus on offensive and defensive tactics, training techniques, restart plays and much more. All coaches, players and parents of players are invited to attend. The event will take place tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. It will be complimentary for Cup participants and $10 for all others at the door.

The tournament will run through Sunday at three facilities in Overland Park and Shawnee, KS - Roeland Park, MAWC and Johnson County Community College. Check out a video of the U14 Juniors at last year's edition...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

 Michael Oakley signs to William Jewell

The signings keep coming in from the Sporting KC Juniors. Thursday afternoon at Lee's Summit North High School, Michael Oakley signed his Letter of Intent to William Jewell College.

Initially, Oakley was planning on heading out of the state to a bigger school, but William Jewell wouldn't have it. With a thriving soccer program (jumping to Division II next season), a great atmosphere and a nice scholarship opportunity, Oakley couldn't turn the Cardinals down. He added, "I know Coach Chris Cissell and I'm a big supporter of him and what he's done in his career."

While his high school career is over, Oakley is ready to enjoy his fourth season with the SKC Junior club. "It's a different level playing with them," he continued. "The chance to train everyday, the equipment, the facilities, they are second to none."

Oakley's high school and eventual William Jewell teammate, Shane Bowlen, will make his signing official at Lee's Summit North next week.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

 Asher Herbet signs letter to LIU

Put another one in the books. Sporting Kansas City Junior, Asher Herbet, signed his Letter of Intent for Long Island University on Thursday afternoon at Shawnee Mission South High School.

New York may be far away, but Herbet has his reasons for moving across the country. Not only did his parents grow up there, but he is also impressed with the LIU heaqd soccer coach. Herbet commented, "They have a strong program and I know that the coach has coached at the national level and has experience at the highest levels of soccer, which is good to be a part of."

Herbet is excited to start the newly implemented weight training program for the Juniors, as he knows it will help him in his goal of moving to the next level. He went on to say, "It's a professional style workout and is exactly what the team needs to improve."

The SKC U18s will get a chance to test out the new training regime for the first time in a couple of weeks. They travel to Texas for the MLS/Mexican Quadrangular Tournament on February 26.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

 Photo Slideshow: U13's in action

The Sporting Kansas City U13 Juniors were the first Juniors team to travel to a tournament in 2011 when they went to Dallas, Texas for the Michael Brown Winter Classic at Pizza Hut Park last month. Now thanks to Chris Weaver -- soccer dad and photography master -- we have more than 100 great shots from their four games to show off. Check them out...

 National Signing Day

Will Witherspoon signing for Virginia Tech

February 2nd marked the official National Signing Day, when high school seniors across the country could send in their Letters of Intent for the first time to commit to college programs to continue their playing careers. Congratulations go to nine players from the Sporting Kansas City U18's who were announced amongst the signing classes for a range of schools across the nation.
  • Marques Mayoras is set to travel north and join an Ohio State soccer team that has brought Sporting KC a number of players in the past few seasons with recent draft pick Konrad Warzycha, as well as current starter Roger Espinoza.
  • Konner Knoll and Jordan Rideout will remain teammates as they are each headed to nearby University of Missouri - Kansas City. In 2010, UMKC finished as the No. 1 team in the Summit League. Both Knoll and Rideout were given the chance to train with the Sporting KC senior squad last fall.
  • Paul Oliver and Tom Adams will join Knoll and Rideout in the Summit League, but with opponent Oral Roberts.
  • Forward Will Witherspoon (pictured above) is going out east to the ACC to join Virginia Tech. Witherspoon was another player who played in every game last season for the Juniors.
  • Lee's Summit North High School teammates Shane Bowlen and Michael Oakley will aim to grab spots on the back line at William Jewell. The Cardinals made it to the NAIA Final Four last season.
  • Asher Herbet will sign his LOI to Long Island University (Brooklyn Campus) on Thursday at Shawnee Mission South H.S.

 Rideout and Oliver Sign Letters

Two more Sporting Kansas City Juniors made their college plans official on Monday afternoon. At Blue Valley North High School, Jordan Rideout and Paul Oliver signed their letters of intent to the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Oral Roberts, respectively.

While Oliver is headed out of town, the two could
still end up playing on the same field again, but as opponents, since the two schools are in the same league. Oral Roberts seemed like a perfect fit for Oliver after he said, “I wanted to play for a D1, Christian school that was a few hours away.”

As for Rideout, with UMKC being nearby, he’s already had a chance to watch the team numerous times. Not to mention, Rideout has worked with the UMKC Coach before (Rick Benben) and can’t wait to join him.

Playing for the Junior club in the high school off-season is one of the main reasons each of them believe they got a chance to play for a Division 1 team. Rideout said keeping in shape and fitness was a big part, but also remarked, "I wouldn't have received any D1 looks if it wasn't for Sporting Kansas City."

The Juniors are currently training and weight lifting for the upcoming season. The Fitness Coach for the Senior club, Mateus Manoel, is helping out and has provided a workout regime that all Junior teams will do.

Friday, February 4, 2011

 Marques Mayoras Signs Letter to OSU

High School athletes have begun signing letters of intent to colleges and it’s no different for the Sporting KC Juniors. Marques Mayoras was the first of them, after he made his move to Ohio State University official Wednesday afternoon at Blue Valley Northwest High School.

Mayoras has played with the Juniors for the last two seasons ever since moving down South from New York. He’s excited to go to such a prestige school as Ohio State, but knows he isn’t done yet. “I know I still have to improve and work on my game if I want to get a spot in the starting lineup next season,” remarked Mayoras after Wednesday’s signing.

Before he heads back up North, Mayoras still has a season left with Sporting KC where he can hone his craft. “I really appreciate all that they (SKC) have done,” Mayoras said, “from paying for trips and giving me a chance to play at such a high level of the game.”

Two more Juniors, Jordan Rideout and Paul Oliver, will sign their letters on Monday at Blue Valley North High School.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

 Rugova Shows His Skills

Kia (in white) being "defended" by Edmond Rugova (in blue) -- photo by Thad Bell

Sporting Kansas City U15 Juniors Coach Edmond Rugova can still play. His playing career began in the 1970's in his native Kosovo for KF KXEMK, KF Liria Prizren, RHMK Kosovo and KF Prishtina before he came to the United States as a member of the New York Cosmos and eventually ended up indoors with the Kansas City Comets for the 1986-87 season, wearing #24.
Last Friday night, Rugova was back in a Comets uniform for the team's Reunion Night as he showed off his skills at halftime of the Missouri Comets game against the Milwaukee Wave at the Independence Events Center. Photographer Thad Bell ( was fieldside to snap some great shots of the halftime reunion game, including the pictures of Rugova above and below.
Edmond Rugova, Gino Schiraldi and Vlatko Andonovski -- photo by Thad Bell

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

 Familiar Face on Live to Dance

Joey "JoJo" Piatczyc watches a lot of soccer, like many of his Sporting Kansas City U16 Juniors teammates. But on Wednesday night, all tv's in the Piatczyc household will be tuned to CBS for the finals of Paula Abdul's Live to Dance as JoJo's brother Blake competes with Dance Town Chaos for the $500,000 grand prize. Blake can be seen in this YouTube clip beginning at the 1:20 mark as part of the semifinal routine that aired last Wednesday and earned the group a spot in tomorrow night's finals.

17-year-old Blake Piatczyc is shown in back row, second from left

Blake, a junior at Lee's Summit West High School, was recently featured in the Lee's Summit Journal, and the Miami, Florida-based group was covered in the Miami Herald.

Meanwhile, JoJo is making a name for himself within the Juniors academy. Currently a freshman at Lee's Summit High School, he played in each of the U16 Juniors first four games in the 2010-11 U.S. Soccer Development Academy, including a start in the team's 2-0 win over the Dallas Texans.

JoJo encourages everyone to vote for Dance Town Chaos tomorrow night as the show runs in primetime on national television, 7pm - 8pm CT on CBS. The winner will be announced on the season finale, which is scheduled to air on Wednesday, February 9th.