Sporting KC to Host French Ligue 1 Champions Montpellier HSC on July 24June 15, 2012 - Major League Soccer (MLS) Sporting Kansas City
All Sporting Kansas City Season Ticket Members will receive a ticket to the match, Special Game C, as part of their full-season ticket packages and parking is free for all Sporting KC home matches at LSP.
Founded in 1974, Montpellier Herault Sport Clubis coming off the club's best season in the team's storied history, winning the French Ligue 1 Title for the 2011-12 campaign. Led by French national team players Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (captain) and Olivier Giroud (21 goals and nine assists), as well as talented Moroccan international Younes Belhanda (awarded as best African player in France), Montpellier won 25 games and finished three points ahead of Paris Saint-Germain.
The first-place finish qualifies Montpellier HSC for the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League group stage to compete against the top clubs in Europe next season.
"This match is very interesting for us on several levels," Montpellier Head Coach Rene Girard said. "We will play Sporting Kansas City who has a very high ranking in MLS and will play in one of the most beautiful stadiums in the U.S. It will be a high level match. It is a way for us to discover a type of soccer that we don't know very well, which is very important in perspective of the Champions League that we'll be competing in next season."
Montpellier will be the first French club to face Sporting Kansas City at LIVESTRONGSporting Park and is the fourth international club announced to visit the state-of-the-art stadium, along with Newcastle United FC and Stoke City FC of the English Premier League and Club Deportivo Guadalajara from Mexico.
"For the first time in its history, our club Montpellier Herault SC will play a match on American soil and it will be a very exciting moment," remarked Montpellier President Delegue Laurent Nicollin. "I am very happy and proud that we have the opportunity to play against Sporting Kansas City. The match will be a very good test for us."
The match against Sporting KC will serve as a precursor for Montpellier as they face Coupe de France winners Lyon in the Trophee Des Champions on July 28 at Red Bull Arena. The Trophee Des Champions is the first official match of the French season and one of the four trophies a club can win in France.
"We look forward to hosting the winner of the French Ligue, Montpellier, and helping them in their preparation for another successful season and their quest to win the Trophee Des Champions," Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes said. "It is no surprise that LIVESTRONGSporting Park is becoming a top destination for international clubs to play during the offseason and we look forward to the game."
In preparation for the friendly, which has been brokered by Blue Roof Entertainment, LLC, the French club will hold training sessions at the Sporting Club Training Center in Swope Park as part of their pre-season. VIP packages, including the opportunity to attend a Montpellier training and autograph session, will be made available at a later date. The team's technical staff will also host an invitation-only coaching clinic during their stay.
The friendly becomes the most recent international soccer event announced for LIVESTRONG Sporting Park since it's opening one year ago. CONCACAF selected the $200+ million venue to host matches during the 2011 Gold Cup and played the region's semifinal and championship games for the 2012 Olympic Men's Qualifying Tournament at LSP.
The U.S. Women's National Team played their first match following the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup at the stadium and the U.S. Men's National Team will return to LIVESTRONG Sporting Park for the their final World Cup qualifier in the Semifinal Round on October 16 versus Guatemala.
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