KANSAS CITY, Mo. — By all accounts Kansas City’s new LIVESTRONG Sporting Park is a one-of-a-kind facility. A combination of stunning architecture, a perfect pitch and fan-focused experiential features, the new home of Sporting Kansas City may be the bar that future North American soccer stadia are judged by.
One Sporting KC player who’s in a unique position to assess new stadia is midfielder Luke Sassano. Having spent 2010 as a member of Red Bull New York, Sassano was with the club when they opened their long-in-the-making stadium.
But the midfielder is diplomatic when it comes to comparing MLS’ two newest soccer-specific stadiums.
“I think they’re both different but they are both world class,” said Sassano. “The ownership and the construction group have really put together a beautiful stadium for us players and the fans.”
The new park could provide a lift for the team that has struggled on an epic 10-game road trip. According to Sassano, there is a feeling of home that players can only get from a stadium that is their own and not the property of the opposition or another local sports team.
“You feel the difference,” says Sassano. “There’s a good aura, a more positive vibe around the team. It’s your home, it’s your place. It has your name attached to it and your fans. You feel more attached to it.”
While Sassano may be one of the few who knows the good feeling of gaining a new soccer home, that’s not to say he’s the one who’s the most excited about Sporting Kansas City’s nomadic ways coming to an end.
“We’ve been coming home for two days and then going back on the road, so not washing my slacks for six weeks in a row has been rough,” Sassano laughed. “But I live with Eric Kronberg so I bet his two dogs are probably happier than we are. They’ll finally get some quality time with us.”