Stub

KCW Juniors to add teams in 2008

The Kansas City Wizards have announced exciting plans for the future of their KCW Juniors Youth Development Program. The Wizards will expand the number of KCW Juniors teams in 2008 and join the U.S. Soccer Development Academy in 2009. In 2008, the KCW Juniors will have teams compete in the U-13, U-15, U-16, U-17 and U-18 age divisions. Upon joining the Development Academy in 2009, the U-16 and U-18 KCW Juniors teams will be fully funded.

"This is an unbelievable opportunity for young soccer players who want a direct path to the professional ranks," OnGoal CEO Robb Heineman said. "Nowhere else in a 10-state area can young players participate in this high-caliber competition for free. We at OnGoal are investing heavily in soccer and in the young soccer players of our area in hopes of growing the sport locally and nationally. We are proud to give this opportunity to young people from Kansas City and the surrounding areas and look forward to the day when a Kansas City Wizards first-team player has developed through the KCW Juniors program."

Both the KCW Juniors and U.S. Soccer Development Academy programs began in 2007 with resounding success. The KCW Juniors U-17 squad finished as runners-up in their first-ever tournament just one month after the team was formed. The U-17s defeated several established MLS youth sides to reach the finals of the inaugural Soccer United Marketing U-17 Cup held in conjunction with the 2007 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado. The Juniors will again compete in the tournament this year, held July 3-10 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in conjunction with the adidas Elite Soccer Program (ESP) showcase event.

"We are extremely pleased to add two age divisions this year and then enter our U-16 and U-18 teams into the U.S. Soccer Development Academy in 2009 free of charge," Wizards Technical Director Peter Vermes said. "We have spent a lot of time addressing the issue of getting our teams into the best competitions available within a reasonable proximity. The KCW Juniors Technical Staff and U.S. Soccer mutually agreed that joining the Development Academy in 2009 would provide the best opportunity for Juniors players, as U.S. Soccer will focus on adding teams in the region to minimize travel requirements."

"In order to fully alleviate travel cost concerns for our players and their parents, we will make our U-16 and U-18 teams fully funded when we enter the U.S. Soccer Development Academy in 2009," Vermes said. "I am excited to be a part of this organization and offer this opportunity to youth players in our region. I have been involved in soccer for over 30 years and have never seen such a wonderful opportunity for players who dream of playing professionally."

Currently, all KCW Juniors teams are fully funded except for travel expenses. This means the KCW Juniors cover:

• Coaching fees
• League registration fees
• Tournament registration fees
• Uniforms
• Field fees, as all KCW Juniors teams practice and play home matches on Field 3 at the Wizards state-of-the-art Swope Park Training Center. This lighted field features the highest quality surface manufactured by FieldTurf and holds a FIFA two-star rating, the highest rating given to turf fields by soccer's international governing body.
• Beginning in 2009, travel expenses will also be covered by the KCW Juniors for the U-16 and U-18 teams, leaving no costs to participants.

The KCW Juniors program began in 2007 with teams in the U-15, U-16 and U-17 age divisions. Each of those teams will graduate to the next higher age division this year, and the KCW Juniors will add a new U-15 team and a U-13 team.

"Adding two more teams allows us to include more talented soccer players in our great program," KCW Juniors DOC Jon Parry said. "In one season, we have created competitive teams that rival the best in the country. The KCW Juniors program is designed to develop players capable of playing in MLS, and already we have identified three to five players that have the potential to take that next step if they continue to develop."

Parry joined the KCW Juniors program as the Director of Coaching in January of 2008 and has an impressive background in soccer. Parry has over 15 years of coaching experience and has worked alongside of Peter Vermes for the past 4 years as the Director of Juniors for the Blue Valley Soccer Club. Prior to joining BVSC, he was the Head Coach for the Men's and Women's team at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas. His playing experience includes the 1996 United States FUTSAL Team which competed in the World Championships, the 1998 team that played in the Brazilian Olympics, eight years of professional indoor soccer in the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) and the Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL), and college experience at Rockhurst. He was an All-Star four times in indoor leagues and finished his career with over 400 goals scored. With 93 career goals, Parry is the second all-time leading scorer at Rockhurst.

Each KCW Juniors team will practice a minimum of three times per week at the Wizards Swope Park Training Center. Speed, strength, agility and conditioning will be major focuses of KCW Juniors training. Kansas City Wizards Fitness Coach Dave Tenney and Scott Moody, founder and CEO of Center for Athletic Performance (CAP), will oversee training regiments for all Juniors teams. Juniors goalkeepers will also receive goalkeeper-specific training twice per week.

"We are proud that the technology and know-how from which our Major League Soccer players benefit will be available to our youth players as well," Vermes said. "We strive to make every aspect of our organization world class from top to bottom. This is another example of that commitment."

In 2008, the KCW Juniors U-15 through U-18 teams will compete in the following competitions:

• Midwest Regional League
• State Cup
• Regionals
• Nationals
• Selected tournaments
• Selected friendlies against high-caliber opponents
• FUTSAL during the winter

In 2008, the KCW Juniors U-13 team will compete in the following competitions:

• Heartland soccer league (U-14 age division)
• State Cup
• Regionals
• Nationals
• Selected tournaments
• Selected friendlies against high-caliber opponents
• FUTSAL during the winter

The KCW Juniors will also field a U-19 team for the Kansas State Cup tournament. The team will be comprised of collegiate players from around the country that grew up in the Kansas City area. Information on coaches for the 2008 season and tryouts will be announced in the comings weeks. If you have questions about the KCW Juniors program, contact the Wizards by email at kcwjuniors@kcwizards.com.

For more information about the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, click here.


MLS All-Stars vs. Real Madrid is August 2. Limited tickets left!

Time is running out for your chance to see European champions Real Madrid face the best of MLS. Get your tickets to the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target.

More about All-Star  |  Event schedule