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...