The deadline for the Wyandotte Daily News print edition is the day before the AT&T MLS All-Star game at Sporting Park in which the world of soccer will be focusing on our community. So I can’t tell you the U.S. All- Stars won because they haven’t yet. What I can tell you is the way our community truly responded to the game thanks to the efforts of the Kansas City, Kan., Convention and Visitors Bureau and many volunteers pulling out all the stops in our community to create a Welcome to Kansas City for soccer fans and in the process reminding all of us just what we have here and to celebrate it.
It started with the kickoff in downtown KCK on July 24 introducing the big inflatable jersey that traveled around town to the Border War Challenge between the two Kansas Cities to donate canned goods for Harvesters. It continued with sightings of the 30-foot jersey all over town. Sightings of visitors and full hotel rooms throughout the city began over the weekend.
Tuesday, Sporting KC officially unveiled the brand new futsal courts at Wyandotte High School. However, Greg Cotton, chief operating officer for Sporting Kansas City, remarked that the courts don’t look as new as kids have truly been using them since the day they were put in. I bet we’ll see more futsal courts around town in the future.
Soccer players of today and prior years made appearances around town at local venues teaching tomorrow’s soccer players some of the tricks of the trade and signing autographs on jerseys and soccer balls. Media from around the world followed their favorite players to some of our favorite places.
On Facebook, on Twitter, and online, it was all about soccer according to the fans, the MLS league, the players and the community.
The parties truly began on the 31st with the Kansas City T-Bones playing a rare weekday noon game to kickoff the festivities with a battle against the Laredo Lemurs. And as with the All- Stars, I can’t tell you if the T-Bones won – yet.
Late Wednesday afternoon the festivities shifted to the Legends Outlet commons area and Nebraska Furniture Mart for soccer celebrations with fun for the whole family with more players and more opportunities to have fun.
For those without tickets to the All- Star games, soccer fans had at least two options for community watch parties at the KCK Community College Athletic fields and Dave and Busters at The Legends. The Community College family festival included the college’s own sports team sharing the basics of the games they play with kids of all ages as well as other activities for the entire family.
And then there was the All- Star game itself. Those at watch parties watched in air-conditioned comfort. Those at Sporting Park didn’t just watch, they became part of the game as soccer has become part of our town, our culture, our business. I wish I could tell you the All- Stars won, but I can’t – yet.
Thanks to Sporting Kansas City, the MLS League, the players, the KCK CVB and all their volunteers, the Community College, the Legends Outlets and especially the community for an incredible soccer week in which we showcased Kansas City, Kan., to the world.
Cindy Cash is the president and chief executive officer of the Kansas City, Kan., Area Chamber of Commerce.