Sporting Club Network adds Northwest Arkansas Lightning as its 15th Academy Affiliate
NWA Lightning becomes the fifteenth Academy Affiliate in the Sporting Club Network and 1st in Arkansas
(June 2, 2015) – Northwest Arkansas Lightning has officially signed on as the 15th Academy Affiliate in the Sporting Club Network. Rebranded as Sporting Arkansas, NWA Lightning is now the first affiliate of Sporting Kansas City in the state of Arkansas.
“Sporting Arkansas is thrilled to be the newest Academy Affiliate to join the Sporting family. Our board, coaches, parents, and players are very excited about the opportunities that this affiliation provides our organization. We know it will help us drive soccer throughout the entire state of Arkansas.”
Sporting Arkansas Board President
The Northwest Arkansas Lightning rebranding into Sporting Arkansas offers Sporting Kansas City further reaches into a rich talent pool in the Midwest and beyond. Sporting Arkansas offers its members a wide range of platforms from which to compete in including a strong recreational base from age 4 to a competitive academy ranging from age groups U11-U19, on both the girls and boys side.
“We’re excited to welcome all the players, coaches and families from Sporting Arkansas into the Sporting Club Network,” said Sporting KC Academy Director of Coaching Jon Parry. “We strive to make our Academy Affiliate program the strongest in the league, and their addition will make the program stronger as it continues to grow across the Midwest. Sporting Arkansas has our full backing and we can’t wait to working closely with their entire club.”
Players that participate and compete through the Academy Affiliate program will be directly connected to Sporting Kansas City’s Academy and youth development initiatives. In turn, they will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience while receiving heightened levels of training and development.
Sporting Arkansas players can now be invited to partake in the annual Academy Affiliate Weekend, an event that brings together many of the most competitive and talented youth soccer players from across the Midwest, all under the Sporting Club umbrella. Select Sporting Arkansas players will also be named to Academy Affiliate All-Star Teams throughout the year, offering these players a chance to learn the game in the same environment and setting as Sporting KC’s own Academy and first-team players.
As an Academy Affiliate member, Sporting Arkansas becomes an extension of the Sporting KC Development Academy and therefore an extension of the club’s scouting network. The relationship between the Sporting Club Network and Sporting Arkansas will play a large part in the overall growth of soccer in the Midwest by elevating the level of youth soccer in the region, while also offering extensive new benefits that will directly impact the improvement of these players. In the search for the next homegrown star that will wear the Sporting Kansas City crest and win championships at Sporting Park, the state of Arkansas will now be closely linked with Sporting KC’s search to find and develop future talent.