28 Oct Kansas City’s women’s soccer team is building a stunning new stadium after an MLS club resisted sharing its home field
Kansas City is building a gorgeous new stadium, the first ever built specifically for an NWSL team.
The move comes after MLS’ Sporting KC resisted leasing out Children’s Mercy Park to the women’s club.
KC NWSL has played its 2021 home games at Legends Field, a baseball stadium shared with an AAPB team.
Kansas City’s National Women’s Soccer Team is getting a new home.
The women’s professional soccer club announced plans to build a gorgeous new stadium at Berkley Riverfront just off the banks of the Missouri River. The $70-million project – which franchise ownership will pay for in its entireity – will yield the first-ever stadium built specifically for an NWSL team and one of the few in the world built for a women’s team as its primary resident.
KC NWSL’s ambitious plan represents a major advancement for franchises across the NWSL and reflects growing interest and investment in women’s sports more generally.
It’s also a far cry from the club’s situation throughout the 2021 season; the team currently plays its home games at Legends Field, a baseball stadium that it shares with the city’s American Association of Professional Baseball team.
Kansas City’s Major League Soccer franchise, Sporting Kansas City, has long been reluctant to share its stadium with an NWSL side. As a results, its field at Children’s Mercy Park – a soccer-specific arena located just outside of Kansas Speedway with a nearly 20,000-fan capacity – often sits empty as some of the best women’s soccer players on the planet compete on a substandard field less than a mile up the road.
Concerns about field maintenance with two full-time tenants may have influenced the MLS club’s hesitation to invite the NWSL side into their home. But in September, KC NWSL announced that it would play home games at Children’s Mercy Park throughout its sophomore season.
Perhaps rumblings about the franchise’s new stadium, which indicated that the team’s tenure at Children’s Mercy Park would be short-lived, was enough to spur Sporting’s change of heart.
“We are thrilled to move our home matches to Children’s Mercy Park,” KC NWSL Chief Operating Office Amber Cox said in a release. “When the opportunity materialized for the 2022 season to move to one of the best soccer stadiums in the world, we felt it made sense, especially given our player-first approach.”
“We’re excited to offer soccer fans in Kansas City a full menu of both men’s and women’s soccer at Children’s Mercy Park in 2022,” she added.
Fans will have to wait a bit longer before taking in an NWSL game from the team’s stunning new home. Construction is set to begin in the spring or summer of 2022, The Kansas City Star reports, with the stadium scheduled to open sometime in 2024.
“World-class facilities have proven to be a catalyst in transforming all professional sports,” KC NWSL co-founder and co-owner Angie Long said in a release from the team. “Tremendous momentum exists in women’s sports specifically, and we are so proud to play a major role in ensuring the sport and also our region benefit from the economics and growth offered by a stadium of this magnitude.”
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