Thursday, September 17, 2009

Kei Kamara interview 09/17/09

Went to practice today to see Kei Kamara, the newest Wizard. He chose 23 as his number in Kansas City. Here he is in Wizards blue...


Stretching out and wondering why some guy keeps taking photos of him...



I talked to him about the trade, why he chose the number, Hartman's hair color and goal celebrations...


Watched him in some drills and he showed good skills and speed. When he scrimmaged he did not do much but that was probably a result of getting to know the team.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New stadium layout photos

I was allowed to take photos of the mock ups that will be displayed at the Season Ticket Holder event today. I could not post them until after the event. Please remember that even these are not final designs, but it is where they are in the planning stage. These are not detailed renderings but they are basically the files they are being used to work out the design and then the details will come. So here you go...

The hotel is the nearest building in this view. Certain rooms, conference rooms will overlook the field...


From the opposite side. All details are still being worked on including the waves in the roof...


You can see the roof over the Cauldron end and the huge video board...


View from the hotel (more or less) of the Cauldron end. The Cauldron actually wraps around to the right side in this view...


View of the bench side, the players, refs, escorts will enter the field from that side through the club (or at least that is the thought at this time) and the benches will be right next to field reserve club seats...


Looking back up at the hotel from the Cauldron end...


Another view of the Cauldron. You can see where the Cauldron members will enter through the Cauldron Club.


A few of the plans that have been created for the various different projects the Wizards have been involved with...

Chivas practice in Kansas City 09/15/2009

In preparation for their match with Club America in the El Classico at Arrowhead tonight, Chivas practiced at the Wizards training facility last night.

The team ran through drills and did some light scrimmaging.


Luis Ernesto Michel punching the ball over the goal...


While it was fun to watch a team like Chivas practice, the real story was all the fans that turned out. Two hundred tickets or so were sold to fans to let them come inside the facility. I would estimate another 400 or so were outside the fence watching as well.


Fans came painted just to watch practice...


The media swarmed players for interviews...


Players walked around after practice and posed for pictures...


Autographed babies...


Tried on goat wrestling masks...


Go to the gallery to see more photos. I will add more photos there later today and maybe even some video from last night as well.

Club America practice in Kansas City 09/15/2009

In preparation for the El Classico match tonight with Chivas, Club America practiced at the Kansas City Wizards training facility yesterday. The keepers put on a high flying and diving show.

Mexican National team goalie and Club America star Guillermo "Memo" Ochoa diving across the goal to make a save...


Ochoa in full superman pose to block a shot...


It looked like number 2 keeper Navarrete was recovering from injury and only practiced for awhile. Number 22 was flying across goal as well. I am not sure of this goalies name so if someone can leave me his name in the comments I will add it later.


Lots of fans came out for a morning practice session. I estimated around 300 or so fans.


Numerous players and coaches came over to say hello to former Club America star Claudio Lopez.


More photos in this gallery. I will add more into there later today.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

TRADE: Abe Thompson for Kei Kamara

The Kansas City Wizards acquired Kei Kamara from the Houston Dynamo for Abe Thompson and allocation money.

Abe hanging out in the Cauldron at a recent game...


I was talking to Technical Director and acting Head Coach Peter Vermes and he revealed the trade. He mentions the trade at the end of this short interview.

Monday, September 14, 2009

World Cup bid visit to Kansas City

I had to keep this secret until now but I was invited to do something that I thought was really cool. John Kristick from the USA Bid Committee visited Kansas City last week and I was asked to go along to document the day in photos. I did so and along the way got a glimpse into the plans behind the very real possibility that Kansas City could be hosting the World Cup in 2018 (or 2022).

Kristick met with members of the Kansas City Sports, Tourism and local World Cup Bid committees prior to touring the key sites around town. I met the group as they wrapped up breakfast at a hotel on the Plaza. The people traveling with the group boarded a bus and traveled to Volker Park just east of the plaza. The park could be a site for fan fest type activities.

David Ficklin discussing bid details with John Kristick...


Signs like this greeted us everywhere we went...


Next stop was the Kansas City Wizards training facility in Swope Park. That would of course be used as a training site for teams preparing to play in Kansas City. He seemed impressed with the quality of the Wizards' fields and building.

Inside were displays showing the plans for the new stadium...


Ficklin explaining the plans for the new stadium...



From there the group traveled to Arrowhead to see where the games would be played. They went to the Chiefs' offices and discussed how easily the stadium would be modified and a host of other details. A tour of Arrowhead started at the top level and worked downward to the lower levels. The group was welcomed with gousabid.com on all the signboards lights and welcoming messages up on the big boards. While Arrowhead is still under renovations it was easy to see how good it would look when completed.



Chiefs official pointing out features of the stadium...


Gousabid.com all around the stadium...


After walking all around Arrowhead the group headed to lunch. Of course we headed to BBQ (this is Kansas City) and happily they chose one of the best, Fiorella's Jack Stack BBQ in the Freight House district.

The group walked in to find Len Dawson waiting and George Brett soon joined us. While Len and George may not be huge soccer stars they were great ambassadors for Kansas City and were genuinely working to bring the World Cup to Kansas City. Wizards owner and Cerner bigwig Cliff Illig joined the group for lunch as well. So much conversation, so much I can not repeat.

Wizards, Chiefs, Royals and Tour of Missouri jerseys with the number 18 (think 2018) and USA names were presented as gifts...


Group photo...


After lunch (fantastic) the group walked across to Union Station and checked out the area around Liberty Memorial as another possible fan fest site. Then on to the the Westin and Crown Center for more inspections.

Having walked off a small portion of lunch the bus was re-boarded to head to Bartle Hall and the American Royal before heading to the airport.

While there are obviously no plans set in place yet, just listening to all the possibilities that were discussed was incredible. I'm excited, not just because I'm a soccer fan but all the amazing activities around being a World Cup host city would be great for the city.

Go sign up at gousabid.com if you have not done so already!