Thursday, July 18, 2013

GUEST COLUMN: Holland on the MLS All-Star Game

By MARK HOLLAND, Unified Government Mayor/CEO

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- On July 31, the AT&T MLS All-Star soccer game will be played in Kansas City’s Sporting Park.

The eyes of the world will once again be on our city when North America’s soccer All-Stars challenge international opponents, AS Roma, of Italy. Once again, we have been chosen through a competitive process to be the center of the attention of the world. We are worthy and I ask you again to help Kansas City, Kansas puts it best foot forward, this time as a vibrant soccer community.

Kansas City has a special relationship with the sport of soccer. A significant investment was made in 2011 to ensure that our beloved Sporting KC team had a permanent home. The Sporting KC fan base continues to grow and just this month reached a record high game attendance of 21,126 at Sporting Park.

State-of-the-art soccer facilities in our surrounding suburban cities are drawing tens of thousands of players and fans of every age from all over the country. Overland Park was just named the #1 Soccer city in the United States by Livability: America’s Top 10.

With Soccer being the world’s only true international sport, it seems only fitting that the AT&T MLS All-Star game would be played in Kansas City, Kansas. We have a reputation for welcoming cultures from all over the world. We are a true multi-cultural community.

And, much like our city, the sport of soccer does not discriminate between the young and the old, national and international, urban and suburban. It is inclusive of all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Please join me in celebrating our community and the sport of soccer in the days leading up to the AT&T MLS All-Star game. On July 24, at Memorial Hall in downtown Kansas City, Kansas we will kick off a series of free, family-friendly events at a kick-off press event declaring “Soccer Week in Kansas City.” We will also announce “Return of the Border Wars: Competition for the Greater Good,” a friendly canned good collection competition between Kansas and Missouri that will benefit Harvesters.

A 30-foot inflatable soccer jersey will be unveiled that will travel daily with Harvesters collection bins to various locations on both sides of the state line. Follow the Giant Jersey and watch the state of Kansas win!

On July 31, plan to attend the “Family Fun Day” to be held at Village West to include a MLS fan celebration from 4:00 -8:00 p.m., and community watch parties to be held at Kansas City, Kansas Community College from 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. and at Dave & Buster’s from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

It is a great time to live in Kansas City, Kansas!

To follow the Giant Jersey and for information on free family events, visit