Last weekend at the Pitch Black awards, Sporting St. Louis picked up the Academy Affiliate of the Year.
Sporting Kansas City held the team’s annual awards on Saturday, October 19th, at Sporting Park. Among the awards given to senior team players, for most valuable player, goal of the year and other honors, Sporting KC saluted Sporting St. Louis as the affiliate of the year.
Pitch Black, presented by Aristocrat Motors and Mercedes-Benz of Kansas City, celebrates the contributions of players, academy members and club members for contributions throughout the year. For this Pitch Black, Sporting KC acknowledged the following award winners:
- 2013 Most Valuable Player: Graham Zusi
- 2013 Offensive Player of the Year: Graham Zusi
- 2013 Defensive Player of the Year: Matt Besler
- 2013 Goal of the Year: Benny Feilhaber, Aug. 31st vs. Colorado Rapids at Sporting Park
- 2013 Newcomer of the Year: Ike Opara
- 2013 Golden Boot: Claudio Bieler
- 2013 The Victory Project Humanitarian of the Year: Aurelien Collin
- 2013 Bob Gansler Award (Outstanding Academy Player): David Leichty
- 2013 Sporting Club Network Club of the Year: Kansas Rush Soccer Club
- 2013 Academy Affiliate Club of the Year: Sporting StL Rangers
“It was first-class, like everything they do,” said Mark Goldstein, Board Member for Sporting St. Louis. Goldstein attended Pitch Black to accept the award for the Sporting Rangers. “A lot of people had nice things to say about our progress.”
Goldstein even heard from Peter Vermes, Sporting KC’s manager. Vermes told Goldstein that the organization was looking forward to future players coming out of St. Louis. “He also said that he’d heard Tommy Howe’s training is unbelievable,” added Goldstein.
For Goldstein, however, the highlight of the event was sitting with Eric Palmer-Brown and Kyle Miller, both young players. Miller is 24 and finished his collegiate career at Rockhurst in 2011; Palmer-Brown is only 16, the youngest player signed to any MLS club. Miller and Brown are home-grown talents. Kyle Miller came up through Sporting Blue Valley, and Eric Palmer-Brown played for the Sporting Academy.
“You see what this thing is going to become,” said Goldstein, envisioning future home-grown signings from Sporting St. Louis and KC’s other affiliates. “Pretty soon a Sporting St. Louis guy will be the player sitting at the table.”