Monday, December 21, 2009

Wizards stadium site in KCK gets ready

Machinery showed up in preparation of work on the Wizards new stadium...

All in a row...

Wizards supporters were here?


Looking across the field form one corner...

Pretty machines...

A few more photos can be found here. I will load up some more later...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Robb Heineman Stadium Update

Wizards President Robb Heineman gave the fans an update on the stadium tonight. The short version is they are now confident enough to move ahead and they expect to be possibly moving dirt next week (Christmas present?). Seems that Robb is going to make good on his statement that they should be moving dirt by the end of the year.

There will still be a formal announcement, probably in early January. Robb said they still need to have all the documents signed (State of Kansas, Unified Government of Wyandotte County, Cerner and Ongoal) and sell Star bonds (by March 1st).

Listen to Robb talk and get the whole story...

I just happened to be out shopping today and was in the vicinity of the new stadium site. I stopped by to see if maybe they had started without telling us. They had not but I took a couple snapshots for reference. What timing!!!

This would be the northwest end of the stadium. You can see Arthur Bryants BBQ across the street. What sporting event in Kansas City does not have BBQ smell drifting across the stadium?

Looking across approximately midfield towards Kansas Speedway...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sign the KC Bid to host the World Cup - Time is running out

The Bid committee will decide sometime this month which 18 cities will be in the final US Bid to host the World Cup. This is an important step and Kansas City definitely deserves to be one of the finalists. The economic impact is tremendous ($400-$600 million). They are meeting today. They made decide today or the final decision may come later this month.

The bid committee is using these petitions as input to determine the 18 finalists. If you have not signed already, do so. Share with friends, co-workers, strangers, anyone with an email address and a desire to benefit the city.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Peter Vermes Interview - 12/11/09

Part 1: Asked Coach Vermes about players contract situations (Hirsig, Lopez and Kamara), Coach Zambrano and some logic of who was protected in the expansion draft.

Part 2: I ask Coach about scouting and team needs in preparation for the Superdraft, the strategy for drafting, how the lack of a Collective Bargaining Agreement is affecting the planning and are they looking at specific players to acquire and foreign players.

Part 3: Peter talks about the World Cup draw, USL/NASL situation, the prospect of getting the scouting director position filled and will Coach Zambrano joining the staff change day to day activities.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Stadium in KCK getting closer?

It seems that we may be getting closer to the Wizards finalizing a stadium deal. Yesterday Mike reported on Kansas sweetening the pot.Today a poster on Big Soccer found an Invitation to bid for drilled Piers and Concrete foundations for a Wizards stadium in Kansas City, Kansas.

Sounds like we may be getting closer to something being announced?


AC St Louis is the name

The new St. Louis team name, logo, coach and the director of player development were all introduced yesterday. AC St Louis is the name. The logo you can see to the side. The coach is Claude Anelka, brother of Nicolas Anelka.The director of player development is Francisco Filho, who worked with Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United and at the French national academy for almost 30 years.

Starting from the top, I like the name. The AC (Athletic Club) goes with the direction that owner Jeff Cooper is going. Multiple clubs and youth sports under one organization. St Louis Soccer United is the parent organization of both AC St. Louis and St. Louis Athletica (WPS team). They also have worked to merge the many soccer clubs across St Louis and are part of the Development Academy. The name also pays respects to the Missouri Athletic Club which has been involved with St. Louis sports in general and soccer specifically for 100 years. The MAC has awarded the Hermann trophy to the best college players for years.

The team's logo is a green and yellow flame de lis (inspired by the fleur de lis) with a flame in the middle on an arch-shaped shield. On some versions of the logo, a star is between the AC and the St Louis. This is in honor of the St. Louis Stars of the original NASL. While I do not love the actual colors, they are unique and the whole branding is well thought out. I especially like the amount of thought given to the soccer history in St. Louis and tying that into the current club.

Claude Anelka coached briefly in Scotland in 2004 compiling 1 tie and 7 losses before being pushed out the door. He has been coaching FC Trappe more recently but I have not found much info on his record there. Coach Anelka is more recognized for being the brother and agent of Nicolas Anelka, the Chelsea player than he is for his coaching resume. Not sure they could not have found a coach with a little more experience. Perhaps he brings more to the table than I know about.

Francisco Filho, the Director of Player Development is known for helpind develop Henry, Cantona and Christiano Ronaldo. He retired in 2005 from Manchester United but somehow was lured back into the business. It is a good move if he is going to help the whole youth system and Academy teams for St. Louis as well.

St. Louis will compete in the newly formed NASL. They are planning on a single table with a 6 team playoff. The league will start around April 1st and run through November.

Overall a good day yesterday for St. Louis soccer.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Best Soccer blog voting

US Soccer is having their annual Best of US Soccer awards voting. Wizards team blog Hillcrest Road is a finalist. They are up there with all the big national blogs. It is hard for a team blog to compete with the big national focused blogs. I think this is one of those time's it really is a great honor for them to be nominated as a finalist.

I think Hillcrest has done a great job this year keeping people informed about the Wizards and the more interesting national and international soccer news.

Go vote and help Hillcrest Road move up in the votes!!!

Octavio Zambrano to be KC Wizards assistant coach

If my information is correct, Octavio Zambrano will be named as a new assistant coach for the Kansas City Wizards in the near future. He previously coached in MLS with LA as an assistant and then head coach in 1996-99 and with New York 2000-02.

Coach Zambrano brings some needed coaching experience to Kansas City. What do you think of this hiring?

Update: Wizards made it official this afternoon.

From the press release:

The Kansas City Wizards announced Thursday that Octavio Zambrano is joining the team’s coaching staff. Zambrano, a former MLS Head Coach with the second-best winning percentage in League history, will serve as an assistant coach under Manager Peter Vermes. Kerry Zavagnin, Zoran Savic and John Pascarella will remain on the technical staff as assistant coaches.

“We worked to add an assistant coach with head coaching experience,” Wizards President Robb Heineman said. “Octavio (Zambrano) has excellent knowledge of our League and the international game. His presence will allow Peter Vermes to focus both on day-to-day coaching of the team and player personnel decisions more easily.”

Zambrano, 51, was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where he lived before moving to the United States in 1980 to attend Chapman University. Zambrano is fluent in both English and Spanish. He also speaks Italian, Russian and Portuguese. Zambrano played for Ecuador’s U-20 National Team and First Division club Union Deportiva Valdez before starring at Chapman University in the U.S. Zambrano then played professionally for the Los Angeles Lazers in the USISL before becoming a coach.

Zambrano was a Head Coach in MLS for both the Los Angeles Galaxy and New York/New Jersey MetroStars, coaching 143 games and winning three division championships over six seasons. Zambrano went 80-55-8 as a head coach, including a 32-18-0 record in Los Angeles and a 48-37-8 record in New York. Zambrano coached some of the best players in MLS history, including Paul Caligiuri, Robin Fraser, Carlos Hermosillo, Eduardo Hurtado, Cobi Jones, Clint Mathis, Welton, Tim Howard, Lothar Matthaus and Tab Ramos.

"This is a great opportunity to return to MLS and join an organization with such a strong vision," Zambrano said. "I anxiously await coming to Kansas City to start working with the team and preparing for the 2010 season."

Zambrano’s teams are known for playing fast-paced, attacking soccer. In 1998, the Zambrano-led Galaxy scored a League-record 85 goals in 32 games (2.65 goals/game) and posted the most wins and best winning percentage in League history (24-8-0, .750). In 2000, Zambrano’s New York scored 64 goals in 32 games (2.00 goals/game), the 8th most goals in League history by a club in one season. Zambrano also served as Head Coach of CS Tiligul-Tiras Tiraspol of Moldova from 2006-2008 and FC Tatabánya of Hungary from 2008-2009.

Zambrano holds “A” coaching licenses in the United States as well as in Europe, and is also an innovator in youth player development, having developed the first soccer academy in Major League Soccer with the MetroStars. He also founded and coached the Latino-based LA Salsa U-19 team to the finals of the McGuire Cup, the top youth competition in the United States.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wizards U18 2 - 0 St louis Scott Gallagher Metro U18

The Wizards Junior U18 team played their first home game as part of the US Development Academy last Sunday. They were the second game of a double header against St. Louis Scott Gallagher. The U16's tied the first game.

From the start of the match the Wizards U18's was the better team. St Louis had their chances but were not very dangerous. Kansas City on the other hand challenged the St. Louis keeper numerous times.

Not sure how you get in this position...

The team congratulating #21 Tony Young for scoring the first goal...

St Louis keeper Kent Kobernus was kept busy...

The Wizards goalie Taylor Vinnage (?) was not seriously challenged often but cleaned up anything that came his way...

Both teams played hard and physical (mostly clean) throughout the game...

Another challenge in the air...

Wizards defender Michael Oakley stopping a St. Louis attack...

The second goal for Kansas City was scored by Mbulunji Mhango in the 50th. Overall KC played well and kept pressure on St. Louis until late in the second half.

The game was entertaining and very well played. I thought both teams were well coached.It was a better game than most college games I have attended. A couple Wizards players really stood out for me and I can't wait to see them play again.

More U18 game photos can be found here.

Wizards U16 1 - 1 St louis Scott Gallagher Metro U16

The Wizards Junior U16 team played their first home game as part of the US Development Academy last Sunday. I missed most of the first half but from what I was told it seems like St Louis had the better of the play and was leading 1-0 at half. Brian Bement scored for St. Louis in the 39th minute.

After half the Wizards started taking control of the match. A combination of the wind and some timely subs tilted the play in Kansas City's favor.

The Wizards were getting shots and challenging the St. Louis keeper...

Finally a shot from Derek Schrick blasted past the St. Louis keeper in the 70th minute.

The Kansas City U16s kept up the pressure...

But was unable to get another goal past the excellent play of Liam Stapleton, the ST Louis keeper...

Overall a good and fair result for both teams. More photos U16 game photos here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mayor Funkhouser signs host city agreement for World Cup bid

Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser held a press conference at Arrowhead stadium to announce that he had signed the Host City Agreement for Kansas City's World Cup Bid. This is another step in the process to become one of the host cities for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.

Rick Hughes of the Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association spoke about the predicted economic impact of $400-600 million for each host city. That is comparable to a year's worth of conventions in just one month.

David Ficklin of Ongoal talking to reporters after the press conference.

Originally I was thinking the announcement of the host city agreement being signed was a little, well actually a large yawn. Just another step in the process, right? But after thinking about it I did a little looking around. It seems that no other cities have their agreement signed or if they do they have not revealed it yet. Being the first Bid City to have the agreement signed does make the KC Bid Committee look aggressive and organized. Even Ives tweeted it so everyone knows that Kansas City is ready. The US Bid Committee will pair down the bidding cities from 27 to 18 this month and this can only help.

Monday, November 30, 2009

World Cup Bid news?

There is a press conference scheduled for tomorrow at Arrowhead. It is supposed to be a major announcement by Mayor Funkhouser. My guess is that they are announcing that the Kansas City bid is signed and submitted. It would be nice to be announced that we are in the final 18. That announcement is scheduled for December and it would be big enough to warrant a press conference.

No matter what it is, I will be there and let you know as soon as possible. I plan to tweet any big news right away and I will get a post up as soon as possible. So sign up to follow on twitter and you will know before anyone else.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Backpost’s First Annual Wizards End of Year Awards - (Part 2)

Comeback player - Lance Watson
Lance was injured at the beginning of last year and never really got going. This year, he was able to secure a starting role at right back (not his natural position) and held it until Vermes took over.

Coach of the Year – John Pascarella
As the goalkeeper coach, he worked with all of the keepers far more extensively than his predecessor. Even when the top keeper or two might be in the team scrimmage, the other keepers would still be getting drilled and vice versa. He had the keepers working together as a group, pushing each other, learning from each other and improving throughout the year. The keepers normally worked longer than any field players.I saw more odd looking drills with goalies rolling under, diving and jumping over obstacles to block shots to all corners. Hartman’s Save of the year finalist was a save that he and all of the Wizards goalies actually practiced.

Forward of the year - Josh Wolff
Josh is streaky, low-key, quite, confidant and mostly unflappable. He came to play and did his best. Career high in goals and other personal achievements never went to his head.

Midfielder of the Year – Claudio Lopez
I am not sure how it happened, but he seemed to quietly score 7 goals with 8 assists. He still has the drive and creativity. With age catching up to him, he manages to still contribute. I would love to see him on a team with more options. .

Defender of the Year - Matt Besler
What?!!! Not Jimmy? Nope, my pick is Matt. No, he was not always the best defender on the field (nobody else was always the best either). Matt was steady. He had few bad games and played well at left back and in his more natural position of central defender after Vermes took over. Once Matt snagged a starting role early in the season he never let go.

Rookie of the Year - Matt Besler
When Matt came to the Wizards, he was moved to left back, started early in the season and beat out more experienced players to keep starting. He started more games than all but 4 of his teammates. The other rookie on the roster Graham Zusi started off well but due to injury and others was never able to cement a starting spot.

Team MVP - Kevin Hartman
More saves than anyone else in MLS. Numerous records, fantastic saves, kept the Wizards in games they should have lost. Really no other choice. If I gave a hardest worker award, Kevin would get that as well. He was normally practing long after others went in. Kevin would do everything the field players did (usually in the slower group running), face tons of shots in drills and scrimmages with the keepers and still be practicing when other players were already driving out of the parking lot.

2009 Expansion Draft, Wizards protected list

The expansion draft for the Philadelphia Union will take place today. Later today we will know who was picked, if anyone will be picked from the Wizards. Philadelphia can take 10 players, max of 1 per team so 10 teams will lose a player and 5 will not.

Kansas City Wizards Protected List
Arnaud, Davy
Conrad, Jimmy
Harrington, Michael
Hercegfalvi, Zoltan
Jewsbury, Jack
Kamara, Kei
Leathers, Jonathan
Lopez, Claudio
Souter, Kevin
Wolff, Josh
Zusi, Graham

Generation Adidas (protected by default)
Espinoza, Roger
Myers, Chance

Besler, Matthew
Cristman, Adam
Gomez, Herculez
Hartman, Kevin
Hirsig, Santiago
Hohlbein, Aaron
Kraus, Michael
Kronberg, Eric
Marquess, Matt
McKenzie, Rauwshan
Morsink, Kurt
Pardo, Boris
Watson, Lance

While I may have protected different players, there was really only two surprises to me. First is that Besler was left unprotected. He played well, started 26 games as a rookie and has the home town ties. With Conrad protected, three central defenders (Besler, Hohlbein and McKenzie) are available.

The second surprise is that Souter was protected over Hirsig. They had to protect 3 International players so some combination of Lopez, Zoltan, Hirsig and Souter had to be on the list. No way Vermes would expose Zoltan, he showed too much promise at the end of the season and the Hungarian relationship would make exposing him unlikely. While Lopez is aging he was the second leading scorer on the team and could be a key factor if Vermes is able to straighten the team out in 2010.

Hirsig did not play much at the end of the year. He was nursing some injuries but being exposed makes me wonder if he fits into plans for next year. It is possible that Souter has impressed enough for the Wizards to hang onto even though he was injured much of 2009.When he did start practicing he was not removed from the DL but did show a lot of potential in scrimmages.

I was also a little surprised that Leathers was protected. Jonathan is a talented and athletic player but with Myers and Watson on the roster I expected he would be exposed. Guess that makes three surprises...

A lot of fans are concerned that Hartman was exposed again this year. He was unprotected in the last two expansion drafts as well. Last year, Seattle already had a big name keeper signed (Keller) so Vermes felt safe leaving Kevin available. This year Philadelphia does not have a player but Vermes may know something the rest of us does not know. Over the summer, there were rumors that a big name goalie was going to return to the US to play and would go through the allocation process. At the time it was rumored to be Friedel but that was never confirmed. Could Vermes feel safe leaving the all time saves leader unprotected because Philly will get a number 1 keeper through allocation? Ives mentioned that there was very possibly some handshake deals with the Union so that certain players would be exposed without fear. Could he have one of those handshake deals or is the Wizards Technical Director just gambling that the age and salary will deter Philly. By that logic he could have made other veterans with high salary available.

It is hard to criticize the list because I do not know all the possible variables. Contracts, pending trades, handshakes and a dozens other factors that I do not know come into play.

Not a prediction:
If I was picking a player from the Wizards, I would take either Gomez or Hohlbein. Herculez Gomez is a talented midfielder who could provide instant quality for an expansion team. Aaron Hohlbein is mature and expereinced for his age. In the short run he would be better for Philly than Besler because of leadership. Aaron developed center defense leadership experience next to Conrad over the last two years and put it into practice while Conrad was with the National Team.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Backpost’s First Annual Wizards End of Year Awards (Part 1)

It seems like nearly every soccer writer and blogger has their own version of year end awards, so I figured I should as well.

This first set of awards is just for fun. Things I observed while watching practice or while trying to interview players.

Funniest Interviewee - Jimmy Conrad
Everyone knows he is the Wizard with a sense of humor but what makes it better is watching others mess with him during interviews. Herculez Gomez made Jimmy even funnier (at least to observers)

Easiest Interview - Kevin Hartman, runner-up Kevin Souter
Almost any question asked to Kevin Hartman would be a 2-3 minute answer with lots of detailed and well thought out responses. He also spoke from the heart. Kevin Souter was always happy and willing to stop by and talk and made it easy to interview.

Hardest to Interview – Tie: Chance Myers and Herculez Gomez. Sample questions and answers.
Q: How did it feel to get back in the game? A: Good
Q: How is your injury coming along? A: Good

To be fair, both did give better answers at times so it was probably my interviewing ability…

Wizard most likely to cause you to cover kids ears while watching practice – Tie: Kurt Morsink and Coach Pascarella
Both can let loose with a string of swear words that would make a sailor blush.

Best Stare – Zoltán, runner-up Herculez Gomez
Both of them have a great stare. Herculez is more likely to follow up with a significant amount of verbiage so Zoltán wins the best pure stare. Once Zoltán learns better English, that may change.

Kansas City World Cup Bid

Last night I attended a presentation of Kansas City's World Cup Bid. I had already seen and heard a large portion of the info when I tagged along for the bid tour a few weeks ago, but last night a few new media (bloggers) and I got to see it all packaged.

In case you did not know already, the United States is bidding to get the World Cup for either 2018 or 2022. By the natural rotation and all the various policies and politics involved, the US stand a VERY GOOD chance to get one of those tournaments.

Kansas City is bidding to be one of the final 12 host cities if the US gets either 2018 or 2022.

A little info about the World Cup:

It is held every 4 years and lasts an entire month.The FIFA World Cup is the world’s largest sporting event.
  • 3.6 million people attended the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the USA, an average of 69,000 per match - both numbers are still records.
  • 3.4 million people attended the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, an average of 52,000 per match.
  • South Africa, the 2010 host, projects an economic impact of $2.7 billion U.S.

More people watch the FIFA World Cup than any other sporting event.
  • The 2006 FIFA World Cup had cumulative viewer ship of over 26.3 billion people in 214 countries vs 4.7 billion for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
  • 715 million people watched the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final.

204 countries compete over 3 years for the 32 places in the FIFA World Cup.

Only 7 nations have won the World Cup in 18 tournaments since 1930.
Brazil (5), Italy (4), Germany (3), Argentina (2), Uruguay (2), England (1) & France (1).

South Africa will host the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and Brazil will host the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The USA has again qualified for the 2010 World Cup, our 9th overall and 6th in a row – a streak only 6 other countries can match.

The best finishes for the USA were 3rd in 1930 and the final 8 in 2002.

9 other country bids are competing with the USA to host either the 2018 or
2022 FIFA World Cup .
Australia, Belgium/Netherlands, England, Indonesia, Japan, Portugal/Spain, Qatar, Russia and South Korea

Kansas City's bid:

Games would be played at the New Arrowhead Stadium

Proposed Team Team Base Camps:
Wizards New Stadium (Kansas City, KS)
Swope Park Soccer Complex (Kansas City, MO)

Training Sites:
Kansas City Chiefs Training Camp (St. Joseph, MO)
Mid-America Nazarene University Soccer Complex (Olathe, KS)
Park University - Julian Field Soccer Stadium (Parkville, MO)
University of Kansas - Jayhawk Soccer Complex (Lawrence, KS)
Teams, fans and families will live in those training sites for 3-6 weeks to prepare for games.

Proposed FIFA Fan Fest Locations:
Liberty Memorial (North Lawn)
Volker Park
Sprint Center (to show games in 3-D)
Fan Fest locations are required to show all games live. FIFA is planning on showing games in 3-D which is why Sprint Center is a perfect fit

Proposed Special Events & Locations:
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts - FIFA Preliminary Draw
Arrowhead Stadium - FIFA Confederations Cup
Bartle Hall - International Broadcast Center
Bartle Hall Ballroom - FIFA Congress
Union Station - Transportation Hub and World Cup Museum

Importance to Kansas City:

If the USA is selected to host the FIFA World CupTM, Kansas City will join other world-class cities as a host of FIFA World CupTM matches.
Berlin, Buenos Aires, London, Madrid, Mexico City, Milan, Munich, New York, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Seoul, Tokyo.

Hundreds of millions of people will watch each match, increasing global awareness of Kansas City beyond any other promotional vehicle.
With an expected minimum of 4 matches per host city, and equal viewer-ship to the 2006 event, over 1 billion people around the world could be introduced to Kansas City.

The FIFA World CupTM generates a huge economic impact.
The economic impact study projects a FIFA World CupTM in the USA will generate $300 - $500 million* in economic impact and generate 5,000 – 8,000 jobs in each venue city. (*In 2009 dollars)

The cultural impact of having a tens of thousands of visitors in town will be positive and lasting as well. Think about 30,000 Argentinians or Brazilians living in Olathe or Lawrence for a month.

Kansas City is competing with 26 other cities competing to be in the final 18 for the bid. Public support is one of the criteria used to select the final 18 USA cities. The Kansas City Host City Bid City has launched a public signature drive. The other potential host cities have a signature drive as well and the higher we are on the list of potential cities, the better off we are.

The cities still competing for the 18 spots:
Atlanta, GA
Baltimore, MD
Boston, MA
Charlotte, NC
Chicago, IL
Cleveland, OH
Dallas, TX
Denver, CO
Detroit, MI
Indianapolis, IN
Jacksonville, FL
Kansas City
Los Angeles, CA
Miami, FL
Nashville, TN
New York-New Jersey
Oakland, CA
Orlando, FL
Philadelphia, PA
Phoenix-Glendale, AZ
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Seattle, WA
St. Louis, MO
Tampa Bay, FL
Washington, DC

Please go sign here or click on the widget in the sidebar. All it takes is an email address, a name and a zip code. The more signatures we get the more likely we are to be in the 18 for the bid. Last night we had the 6th most signatures. Even if you are not a soccer fan or a sports fan, it will be good for Kansas City. Between $300 and $500 million economic impact for the city and no need to build new facilities. Go sign. Ask your friends, relatives, co-workers to sign.

Thank you...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Project Valour-IT (birthday edition)

As mentioned in a previous post, the group Soldier's Angels has a fund raiser known as Project Valour-IT running through Veterans day. While all the donations go to the same cause the fund raiser is being ran as a team competition. Even though the Marine corps is the smallest branch, the Marine team currently leads the others branches (as expected) in fund raising.

With today being the Marine Corps Birthday, it is the perfect time to donate a little money and put them over the top. Please help if you can.

Happy Birthday Marine Corps

Two hundred and thirty four years ago today, the United States Marine Corps was born in a tavern in Philadelphia. While that may seem an odd place, those who know Marines understand that it could be no other way.

Marines have served around the world defending their country. Every war, conflict, "police-action" or simple show of force has had Marines leading the way. Today Marines serve around the world in two theaters of war, embassies, ships and even at the White House.

On the Marine Corps Birthday all Marines, past and present wish each other a Happy Birthday. Most of us treat the Marine Corps Birthday as more important than our own. We share it with our fellow Marines, our brothers and sisters. It is a bond that is forged in a common history, tradition and experience and far too often in blood.

Happy Birthday Marines

Monday, November 9, 2009

Wizards to announce new head coach Tuesday

Update: Peter Vermes will be officially named tomorrow.

The Kansas City Wizards are expected to announce their new head coach on Tuesday. I think they will likely make Peter Vermes the Head Coach, removing the interim from his title. This is speculation because nobody will say anything other than the announcement will be tomorrow.

Head Coach Peter Vermes?

There has been a lot of speculation about possible coaches, including former Wizard and current (at least until officially released) Chivas coach Preki. He is rumored to be leaving Chivas now that the season has ended. Even though his teams have performed well he and upper management have not seemed to get along. Maybe he could come to Kansas City as an assistant until another job opened up.

Here is Preki talking to Coach Zavagnin at the MLS draft. Former Kansas City head coach Curt Onalfo is in the foreground. Would have been the perfect shot if Preki had replace Onalfo

Check back tomorrow for the more news.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Game is in KC

Take time this weekend to sign up to support Kansas City's bid to bring the World Cup here. Not just to the United States but to Kansas City. There is a very good chance and we want to help that bid in every way possible.

Sign the petition below please!!!

The economic boom from be a World Cup host city is only rivaled by the Olympics with little to no need to spend money. All of the fields and support sites currently exist or are being built already.

Share this with your friends, send it to them on Facebook or however you want. Get them to sign up and help bring the World Cup to Kansas City.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Chet North: Head Athletic Trainer of the Year

Chet North of the Kansas City Wizards was named the MLS Head Athletic Trainer of the Year. I was finally able to get Chet to sit still for an interview. He discusses a little bit of everything: including what it takes to earn the award, the ownership, the MLS Cup team and players. Chet is the only person that has been with the Wizards organization since the first year.

Congratulations Chet!! Well deserved!!

part 1

part 2

part 3

Jimmy Conrad: Co-MLS Humanitarian of the Year

Kansas City Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad received his second honor of the year for his off-the-field contributions to the Kansas City community. MLS W.O.R.K.S., Major League Soccer’s community outreach initiative, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation, the Major Charitable Arm of Soccer in the United States, announced Friday that Conrad and Chicago Fire midfielder Logan Pause were selected to receive the 2009 U.S. Soccer Foundation/MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year Award. This marks the first time that two players have shared the honor. Conrad was previously named Kansas City’s Team Humanitarian of the Year.

For a second consecutive year, Conrad served as a spokesperson for Athletes Against Autism and the Child Protection Center, actively partaking in efforts to raise money and awareness for the organizations. This season he participated in an appearance at the Kick It 3v3 Championships to raise awareness for the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign, and also raised funds for the campaign locally through autograph sessions in Kansas City. Conrad regularly speaks with students at local schools about teamwork and the importance of setting goals in presentations that he designed. Conrad was recently named to the Board of Directors for the Kansas City Zoo.

Talked to Jimmy right after practice Friday about his Humanitarian of the Year honor...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Vote for goal of the year

Vote for Claudio or Davy. They both are nominated twice. Claudio's goals include his beautiful free kick in week 10 against Chivas and week 19's shot from the middle of the field against LA. Davy's goals include the week 1 blast against Toronto and the week 13 goal against New England. I have hard time deciding my favorite. Davy's blast was a nice start to a season that did not go all that well. Claudio's long range shot was a nice revenge for Beckham's from last year.

This is Davy celebrating the goal against New England.

Vote for Save of the Year

Save of the year voting is now open. Wizards keeper Kevin Hartman is nominated 3 times. Week 8, week 11 and my favorite week 32.

Go vote for Kevin!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Project Valour-IT

I do not normally comment on non-soccer related items on this blog. While I have mentioned good causes to support in the past, they have all been soccer related somehow. This is a little different, no soccer involved but something I am supporting.

There is a group known as Soldier's Angels. They help the wounded who arrive in Germany and the States from Iraq and Afghanistan. Many soldiers, Marines, or other service members were wounded and first woke up in the hospital in Lanstuhl Germany or Walter Reed in DC. Even though their families had not had time to get there, they did not wake up alone. One of the wonderful people from Soldiers Angels would be there with them. Holding their hand, keeping them company, easing their fears, giving them hope, comfort and greater chance to recover. They provide those wounded (who usually had to leave all of their belongings behind in a hurry) with some basic clothes other than hospital pajamas. The wounded also get some comfort items from Soldiers Angels and the people who have donated them. In short, Soldiers Angels is a fantastic group that provides a real service to the wounded.

This particular fund raising project is dear to my heart. It is called Project Valour-IT. I am an old IT guy so I have tried to help each year that they have held this fundraiser.

Project Valour-IT, helps provide voice-controlled/adaptive laptop computers and other technology to support service men and women recovering from hand wounds and other severe injuries.

Technology supplied includes:

•Voice-controlled Laptops - Operated by speaking into a microphone or using other adaptive technologies, they allow the wounded to maintain connections with the rest of the world during recovery.

•Wii Video Game Systems - Whole-body game systems increase motivation and speed recovery when used under the guidance of physical therapists in therapy sessions (donated only to medical facilities).

•Personal GPS - Handheld GPS devices build self-confidence and independence by compensating for short-term memory loss and organizational challenges related to severe TBI and severe PTSD.

The fund raising is being held as a team competition. Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy team are all trying to raise the target amount first. In the past, when one team reached their goal they switched support to another team to help the cause. Since I am an old Marine, I joined the Marine team to help.

So, if you can help please do. You can click on the widget on the right hand side to donate to the Marine team or you can go to Soldiers Angels Project Valour-IT page to find the other teams link. The fund raiser runs through Veteran's Day, November 11th.

Thank you...

Friday, October 30, 2009

KC Wizards 2 - 2 DC United (other shots)

Before the last game, a few players and front office people came out to the tailgates to socialize and drop off some "refreshments". Adam Cristman is injuried so he was out there...

Kevin Souter, currently on the DL and doing a great job as a fill in broadcaster stopped by also. Here is posing with Mike of Down the Byline fame...

At press conferences and other events I often talk to Corey who produces the Wizards broadcasts. I asked of I could go into the "truck" during a broadcast to see what it was like. It was cool. They were talking to the broadcast team, feeding them facts and sending various cameras to get shots set up all while watching the game and preparing replays. Even though it would be too busy for a normal broadcast I would like to listen to that once in while. Kind of like the "directors comments" on a DVD, well a lot like it but with a lot more energy and humor.

I just happened to be in there when the PK was called for a (pretty light) bump in the Wizards box. This photo is the PK.

Kevin reacts to almost getting to it...

After the game, Claudio came over and tossed his jersey into the Cauldron...

This guy won the scrum for and came up with the game worn jersey...

Kevin Hartman also visited the Cauldron right after the game. He gave fans his gloves and shoes, posed for photos and signed a few autographs before security hustled him off. All the players were getting cleaned up and coming back out to sign autographs for fans but I was a little disappointed that more players did not come say thanks to the Cauldron. Class move by Claudio and Kevin.

Once the players came back out to some tables, fans had lined up way back into the stands to get autographs. Claudio and his son both signed this ball...

Conrad and Hohlbein...

Kamara looking stylish...

Hartman signing pink jerseys...

A couple fans had their foreheads signed by Claudio Lopez, not sure why the forehead but they were happy...

As each fan walked off, Wizards VP David Ficklin thanked them. Good move Mr Ficklin.

More shots here

KC Wizards 2 - 2 DC United (Cauldron shots)

It was retro night. A jersey from each year was worn in the front row of the Cauldron...

Singing during the game...

After the Wizards first goal...

The Cauldron was here...

A little smoke...

The Big A.. Flag after a goal...

Always good to see kids in the Cauldron...

More shots here