Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sporting to Have Second USL Affiliate?

Last year Sporting Kansas City began a two year relationship with Orlando City SC of the USL-Pro league, the US third division of soccer. This was part of the new affiliate program that MLS and USL had come to an agreement on. Then about a month ago, it was announced that Orlando City would be joining MLS in 2015 along with New York City FC.

With OCSC entering the league, the 2014 USL season is going to have some different meanings for them. While another title would be a good way for them to close out their time in the USL, they'll also be focused on beginning to put together some pieces that will be part of their inaugural MLS season. With that in mind they may not be as interested in the development of the players that KC sends to Orlando next year.

That's a point that's brought up near the end of this article by Brian Straus about the USL-Pro division. In the article, Straus mentions that Sporting's former captain and goalkeeper, Jimmy Nielsen has talked with expansion side, Oklahoma City Energy, about becoming their first coach. That was followed later in the day by a tweet by Nielsen that said "exciting news around the corner."

Not only could Nielsen be getting his first coaching job, but according to Straus it could be as the coach of a Sporting KC affiliate team. Straus mentions that Sporting is also not sitting idle while in their last year of their affiliate relationship with Orlando. KC is apparently starting to transition to Oklahoma City as their affiliate, and could send players to both clubs in 2014.

The day before MLS Cup, Robb Heineman in a chat on the KC Star's site mentioned Oklahoma City as one location they were looking at for an affiliate once Orlando moved up. He also mentioned new expansion team, Tulsa, and Omaha as well.

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