President Obama honors Sporting KC at White House

Dan Moreno

Sporting Kansas City traveled to the White House last Wednesday where President Barack Obama held a ceremony to honor the current MLS champions before the team’s regular season game against D.C. United.

After defeating Real Salt Lake on December 7, 2013 in the longest penalty shutout in MLS history, Kansas City lifted the Philip F. Anschutz trophy for the second time since 2000.

At the ceremony, Sporting Kansas City was represented by players from the 2013 championship team, including former goalkeeper and captain Jimmy Nielsen, who is currently head coach for USL Pro team Oklahoma Energy.

The front office, coaching and technical staff and the Sporting Club’s ownership group also received recognition.

Obama’s speech emphasized the dedication and support that soccer fans in Kansas City have shown for Sporting KC and the US National Team.

“The thing about Kansas City fans is that, even in below-freezing temperatures, the seats were filled. Sporting Park was packed,” Obama said. “It is a city that loves soccer. They have sold out 51 straight games, and in a section of seats called The Cauldron, thousands of fans come out to stand and chant all game long. This past summer, when Americans packed restaurants and stadiums and city parks during the World Cup, fans in Kansas City led the way.”

“So as soccer continues to grow here in the United States, it does so in large part because of the great example of dedicated fans in Kansas City. So congratulations to all of you,” he said.

After the ceremony, Sporting KC presented Obama with a framed No. 44 Sporting KC jersey and a medal, and he posed for a group photo with the MLS Cup.

Additionally, Sporting Kansas City conducted a one-hour soccer clinic for children on the South Lawn of the White House in supports of Obama’s “United We Serve” campaign.

On Friday, Kansas City and D.C. United split points after a scoreless tie in RFK Stadium, leaving the current MLS Champions 2nd in the Eastern Conference with 46 points.

Next up, Sporting Kansas City will host the Chicago Fire on Sat., Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m. with only three games remaining in the regular season.