Home is a practicality in the world of sports. An advantage. A better option than playing away. But when Sporting Kansas City’s players talk about home, about Children’s Mercy Park and the fans that make it bounce and sing, you get the sense it means a little more than that.
“I don’t even have the words to express what it means to me to win a trophy with this atmosphere and these amazing fans,” said Tim Melia, SKC’s outstanding goalkeeper who conceded just two goals in five games of the 2017 U.S. Open Cup. He forced back tears amid a swirl of blue confetti and that warm feeling of being with people who care about the same things you do. “The feeling is something I want to feel every night of my life. The closeness of the fans and the players here, and what they do for us, it’s just amazing. They’re so much a part of us.”
You can’t blame Melia for getting emotional. Home is a heavy notion. It matters, maybe more than anything. And he had a hard road to the rarefied air of Cup Finals and being ranked among the top goalkeepers in Major League Soccer. It wasn’t too many years ago that he didn’t have a club, that he was willing to entertain whatever offers came his way. But at Children’s Mercy Park on the night he and SKC beat the Red Bulls 2-1 to win a fourth Open Cup, he got a standing ovation just for coming out to warm up.
CHICAGO (Sept. 21, 2017) – U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Hackworth has named a 21-player roster for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India, which runs from Oct. 6-28.
“This cycle of players is unique in terms of the quality, depth and work ethic of the group,” Hackworth said. “The biggest challenge in selecting this roster was the competition for spots at almost every position. Our team is looking forward to this opportunity to compete for the U-17 World Cup and are motivated to prove themselves on the world stage.”
The group departs Sept. 24 for training in Dubai, where the remaining players will join the camp prior to arrival in India.
The USA was drawn into Group A with Colombia, Ghana and India. The team opens group play vs. India on Oct. 6 (10:30 a.m. ET), followed by matches against Ghana on Oct. 9 (7:30 a.m. ET) and Colombia on Oct. 12 (10:30 a.m. ET). The first two games will be played at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, while the final group game will be played at Dr. DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. All of the U.S.’s group matches will be broadcast live on FS2 and UNIVERSO.
The World Cup will be played in six cities across India: Kochi, Goa, Navi Mumbai, New Delhi, Guwahati, and Kolkata. A total of 24 countries participate in the tournament with the top two teams from each of the six groups, as well as the four best third-place teams, advance to the Round of 16 on October 16, 17, and 18. The championship and third-place matches take place Saturday, Oct. 28, at the 66,600-capacity Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium in Kolkata.
U.S. 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Alex Budnik (Sockers FC; Arlington Heights, Ill.), Carlos Joaquim Dos Santos (S.L. Benfica; Philadelphia, Penn.), Justin Garces (Atlanta United FC; Miami, Fla.)
DEFENDERS (6): Sergiño Dest (Ajax; Almere-stad, Netherlands), Christopher Gloster (New York Red Bulls; Montclair, N.J.), Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting Kansas City; Charlotte, N.C.), James Sands (New York City FC; Rye, N.Y.), Tyler Shaver (New York City FC; Greenwich, Conn.), Akil Watts (Portland Timbers, Fort Wayne, Ind.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): George Acosta (North Carolina FC; Hollywood, Fla.), Taylor Booth (Real Salt Lake; Eden, Utah), Christopher Durkin (D.C. United; Glen Allen, Va.), Blaine Ferri (Solar Soccer Club; Southlake, Texas), Chris Goslin (Atlanta United FC; Locust Grove, Ga.), Indiana Vassilev (Unattached; Savannah, Ga.)
FORWARDS (6): Ayo Akinola (Toronto FC; Brampton Ont.), Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United FC; Powder Springs, Ga.), Jacobo Reyes (C.F. Monterrey; Houston, Texas), Bryan Reynolds (FC Dallas; Little Elm, Texas), Joshua Sargent (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri; O'Fallon, Mo.), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain F.C., Rosedale, N.Y.)Read more
The U.S. Women’s National Team wrapped up an entertaining and successful week as it defeated New Zealand with a combined score of 8-1 in a two-game set of friendlies on Sept. 15 in Commerce City, Colorado and on Sept. 19 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
With a week of trainings, hotel stays, traveling and two productive match days, the U.S. WNT took to social media to share some of the best moments of camp life, connect with fans and shed a light on just what goes on during a WNT camp.
Below we highlight the best social media moments of the week:
Once the entire squad made its way into Denver, it was time to hit the weight room and get things started in the Mile High City.
The first few days of camp were special for both Lindsey Horan (Golden) and Mallory Pugh (Highlands Ranch), who both hail from the Denver area.
But it wasn’t only just Horan and Pugh that were basking in the joy of being home, as almost the entire WNT roster “took over” with banners hanging downtown all along 16th Street Mall, making Denver the official home of the WNT for a few days.
You + Us + 16th Street Mall.— U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) September 13, 2017
Denver, we've taken over.🚏 pic.twitter.com/guvObYyjDq
Sporting Kansas City’s captain Matt Besler had a busy night in the Final of the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, U.S. Soccer club championship. The U.S. National Team defender and Kansas native kept things tight at the back, resisting the menace of New York Red Bulls’ ace marksman Bradley Wright-Phillips and their elegant playmaker Sacha Kljestan. Amid the celebrations, fireworks and blue confetti at Children’s Mercy Park, the good-natured skipper took a few minutes to talk to ussoccer.com about what it means to bring another title to Kansas City.
ussoccer.com: It’s another Open Cup title for Sporting Kansas City. That makes it four in all. How does it feel to be a part of a club that has never lost an Open Cup final?
Matt Besler: This is what it’s all about. These are the nights you live for as a soccer player. Here with these fans right now and my teammates, celebrating a win like this is the reason why you even play this game.
ussoccer.com: The game had a physical edge from the start. The tackles were flying in and no one on either team gave any quarter. Did you expect the game to play out the way it did?
MB: It was a tough game. Everyone was working for everything and it was clear that both teams were committed and trying their all to win this Cup. Both teams were really aggressive in their tackles and it really played out like a classic cup final. I felt like this was the kind of game we were going to have tonight and we were good enough to get through it in the end. But it was never easy.
ussoccer.com: The New York Red Bulls didn’t go quietly. They were pressing hard at the end with the score at 2-1 and it looked like an equalizer might be in the cards…
MB: You have to credit the Red Bulls for the effort they put in, but at the end of the day we did what we needed to do and it was enough for us to win. You can never predict how a final is going to go, but you can be sure they’re not going to be easy. None of our games in this Open Cup were easy. We had to work for everything. And this one went our way tonight and I don’t really have the words to describe what I’m feeling right now.
ussoccer.com: It seemed like there was a special feeling to this Sporting Kansas City team from the start of the Open Cup campaign. Would you say there was something like destiny about this Cup run?
MB: I would. It started in our first game. We really felt like something special was happening with us. There was a real special feeling in the locker room and around the club. When we played in Dallas and had to be a man down for almost 90 minutes, there was something about winning that game with all of that going against us, that just made it seem like we were headed for something great.
ussoccer.com: The SKC Family suffered a loss not long before that FC Dallas game…
MB: One of our owners, Neal Patterson, passed away a week before the Dallas Quarterfinal. It was a tough thing for the club and for everyone connected to it. I’d just like to dedicate this win to him.
ussoccer.com: You’re getting to be an old hand at winning Cups – MLS Cups and Open Cups. How does this one measure up to the rest?
MB: Any Cup feels just as sweet as the one before. It never gets old. I don’t even know how I feel right now – I’m still in a haze about it. I haven’t had a minute to even digest it. We’re trying to win as many of these things as we can before we’re done playing. Nothing compares to the feeling.
ussoccer.com: Latif Blessing, a young man with a lot of talent, had a big night. In a team with many experienced leaders, it must be satisfying to see one of the youngsters step up in such a big way…
MB: Latif stepped up tonight. He was a threat from the opening whistle. It was unfortunate that he had to leave the game with an injury, but he certainly made his mark on it. He imposed his will while he was in there. We couldn’t ask any more of him.
ussoccer.com: What do you have to say to the fans that have been such a huge part of your 2017 Open Cup campaign and all of the success that has come to this club?
MB: I just want to say “thank you” to all of them. They are our twelfth man, they are our lifeblood, whatever you want to call it. It doesn’t matter. We owe a lot to these fans right here. They’re just the best. They’re always there for us. You can’t find better fans anywhere.