By Cassandra Dreher
KANSAS CITY, MO – Formed in 2012 “with $10 and an idea” by CEO Shawn Daugherty, the Kansas City Shock surprised everyone by finishing third in their inaugural season in the WPSL’s Midwest Division, one of the league’s largest and most competitive divisions. But Daugherty and the Shock aren’t stopping there.
After announcing earlier this summer the expansion of their club to include a high school academy program in 2014, the Shock have now released plans to transform 101 acres of land in the Northland of Kansas City into a state-of-the-art six-field soccer complex and 5,000-seat stadium: the official training ground and home stadium of the Kansas City Shock.
Daugherty sees enormous potential in the rural Northland, just outside the suburb of Smithville. “It’s fifteen miles south of where I grew up, in a town without soccer, or a Starbucks,” he says.
While the Shock hopes to bring the beautiful game to town, don’t expect Daugherty to be rallying for any big-chain coffee corporations. Instead, he wants to grow things locally. From its inception, the Kansas City Shock brand has been deeply invested in the entrepreneurial spirit of Kansas City. Just ask Rock & Run Brewery, a tiny new brewpub opening this fall in Liberty, MO that has already become the official beer and fan hangout of the Shock.
“We’ll be taking on the responsibility, slowly, of being the primary entity to encourage the growth of women’s soccer in the area,” says Daugherty. The Kansas City Shock Academy will encourage more players within the community to participate in competitive soccer programs.
Daugherty and Shock Head Coach Wendy Louque have promised that they will not simply be “cherry-picking” from the local high school teams. “That’s not the way to grow the game,” Daugherty says. Instead, the Academy will provide high-school-aged athletes who are not involved with their school teams the opportunity to compete against top-notch players in college and beyond.
The first field of the new soccer complex is planned to open by Spring 2014, so that the budding soccer community, and the Shock, will have a place to call home as soon as the next WPSL season begins.
“This is not a moment that is designed to amplify and boast the Kansas City Shock,” Daugherty said in a Shock press release. “This is a moment where we get to be a part of transforming Kansas City into the soccer capital of America.”