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Sporting KC Weekly Update

November 21, 2012 - Major League Soccer (MLS) Sporting Kansas City

MATT BESLER NAMED MLS DEFENDER OF THE YEAR

Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler was voted the 2012 MLS Defender of the Year, Major League Soccer announced on Tuesday.

Besler, an Overland Park, Kan. native and Blue Valley West alum, anchored a Sporting Kansas City defense that allowed 27 goals in 34 MLS matches to lead all MLSteams with the fewest goals conceded. He started 30 of his 31 appearances in 2012 and was part of a smothering team defense that held opponents to the fewest shots (328) and shots on goal (102) of all 19 teams during the regular season.

The 25-year-old was named the team's Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season and was the highest-ranked defender in this year's MLS Castrol Index at No. 25 overall. Besler, a 2011 MLS All-Star, also contributed two game-winning assists and Sporting Kansas City went 17-5-8 with a 0.72 goalsagainst average with Besler in the starting lineup.

SPORTING KC STARS TO FLIP SWITCH AT PLAZA LIGHTING EVENT

Sporting Kansas City players Matt Besler, Kei Kamara and Jimmy Nielsen will "Flip the Switch" as honored guests at the Plaza Lighting Ceremony. 41 Action News Chief Meteorologist Gary Lezak will host the ceremony, which will feature a performance by The Elders, followed by a free hour-long concert from The Elders immediately after the ceremony ends.

The ceremony is held on Thanksgiving -- Thursday, Nov. 22nd -- from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. CT at a new location on Country Club Plaza. The ceremony main stage has been moved to a brand new location on Nichols Road and Pennsylvania, near Brio Tuscan Grille and Burberry. The stage will be located on Nichols Road, just west of Pennsylvania, and will face east. The new location features a larger gathering area that will allow for more people to have great views of the ceremony's exciting onstage entertainment and the Flip of the Switch.

KEI DOCUMENTARY TO BE SHOWN ON DEC. 9 AT LEGENDS 14 THEATRE

Join Sporting KC forward Kei Kamara from 1:30 - 4:00 p.m. CT on Sunday, Dec. 9 at the Legends 14 Theatre for a special screening of his documentary KEI. Sporting KC items will be auctioned off to benefit Kamara's charity of choice, Schools for Salone, which works to build schools for children in Sierra Leone.

SWITCH TO SPRINT, LAND SPORTING KC SWAG

When you sign up for an Unlimited plan from Sprint before Dec. 1 you will receive a soccer ball autographed by Sporting KC midfielder Graham Zusi. This is a limited time offer while supplies last. Use promo code GWP1007E to redeem.

Here's how:

1. Go to a participating Sprint Store or sprint.com to buy and activate your new phone. Requires a new line of service with a two-year agreement. Offer ends 12/1/12.

2. After switching to Sprint, register for your soccer ball within 72 hours by returning to the Sporting KC promo page on Sprint.com . You'll need your Sprint Mobile Number to register.

3. After receiving your registration confirmation, please allow 6-8 weeks to receive your soccer ball.

Sprint is the official wireless telecommunications provider of Sporting Kansas City.

SPORTING KC PLAYERS UP FOR YEAR-END AWARDS

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza and former Sporting Kansas City midfielder Julio Cesar have advanced to the quarterfinal round of voting for FutbolMLS.com's 2012 Latino of the Year. Vote here.

Cesar is also a Round of 16 finalist for MLSSoccer.com's AT&T Goal of the Year. Voting is currently closed, but he is in contention to advance to the Final Group to compete as one of the top four goals in MLS this season. Watch his goal here.

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen, one of three finalists for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, has three saves in the Round of 16 for Save of the Year. Voting is currently closed, but his saves could advance to the Final Group to compete as one of the top four saves in MLS this season. Voting for the final groupgoes from Nov. 24-27.

Additionally, Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi is a finalist for MLS Most Valuable Player and Manager Peter Vermes is a finalist for MLS Coach of the Year. The League will announce the 2012 MLS Best XI on Monday, Nov. 26.

SPORTING KC WAIVES FOUR PLAYERS

Sporting Kansas City announced Monday that the club has waived Julio Cesar, Cyprian Hedrick, Neven Markovic and Konrad Warzycha.

Cesar, 34, appeared in 58 MLS matches (including playoffs) in two seasons with Sporting Kansas City. The Brazilian holding midfielder contributed three goals and three assists in MLS competition, and also started two games in the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup including the championship match.

Hedrick, selected in the second round of the 2012 MLS SuperDraft out of Coastal Carolina University, made appearances in three MLS Reserve League matches. The 23-year-old rookie defender suffered a fractured fibula in his left leg in May.

Markovic, 25, made two regular season appearances and saw action in three Reserve League matches after signing with the club in July. The Serbian defender also appeared in the club's international friendlies against Montpellier Herault SC and Stoke City FC. His release from the roster will make available an additional international slot.

Warzycha, selected in the third round of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft out of Ohio State University, made his MLS debut in a 2-0 victory over Toronto FC on June 16 for his only League appearance. After missing his rookie season due to knee surgery, the 23-year-old midfielder appeared in every Reserve League match for the club this season. He also appeared in two games during the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and started both international friendlies.

SPORTING KC ANNOUNCES 2013 PRE-SEASON DESTINATIONS

Sporting Kansas City will travel to Tucson, Ariz. and Orlando, Fla. for the team's 2013 pre-season, the club announced last week. The team will arrive in Tucson onJan. 20 for a two-week stay and will participate in The Desert Friendlies presented by FC Tucson against other MLS competition at the Kino Sports Complex. The matches will be open to the public with tickets to go on sale later this month. Visit FCTucson.com for more information. The upcoming pre-season will mark the third straight year that Sporting Kansas City has selected Tucson as a pre-season site.

After returning home to Kansas City on Feb. 2, the club will depart for the second leg of the 2013 pre-season in Orlando on Feb. 7. Sporting Kansas City will be one of several MLS teams once again competing in the 2013 Disney Pro SoccerClassic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex from Feb. 9-23. Sporting Kansas City supporters can follow the club to Central Florida to see the team compete in the tournament while enjoying all of the world class attractionsOrlando has to offer. Travel packages are available that include lodging, match tickets, attraction tickets and exclusive VIP experiences. Visit SoccerSpringTraining.com for details.

In addition to the MLS regular season schedule, Sporting Kansas City's 2013 campaign will be highlighted by the club's defense of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title andparticipation in the 2013-2014 CONCACAF Champions League. Season tickets for the 2013 season at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park start at $300 for a20-game package and are available to purchase by calling 888-4KC-GOAL.

COLLIN, MYERS REPRESENT SPORTING KC IN MOVEMBER

Sporting Kansas City defenders Chance Myers and Aurelien Collin have teamed up with MLS W.O.R.K.S. for Soccer Kicks Cancer's Movember 2012 Campaign. Movember is a mustache-growing campaign that raises funds and awareness for men's health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives. Myers and Collin began growing their mustaches on Nov. 1 and invite fans to join them in their hairy quest.

How to register:

1. Go to the Sporting KC page

2. Click Join to register

3. Once you're registered, you can take advantage of

Movember's available resources to customize your MO SPACE page and solicit additional members to join your team and support your efforts. Myers and Collin's mustaches will be documented on social media and the blog throughout the month-long campaign and fans are encouraged to Tweet/Facebook pictures of their mustache to Sporting KC.

All 19 clubs in the MLS will be represented in the campaign and MLS W.O.R.K.S. willmatch funds raised by the highest individual fundraiser in the MLS Network (individual person, not team). The funds raised support prostate cancer and testicular cancer initiatives. The funds raised are directed to programs run directly by Movember and their men's health partners, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the LIVESTRONG Foundation.

SPORTING KC NOW TAKING DEPOSITS FOR 2013 RESERVED SEATING

Sporting Kansas City supporters can now place 2013 Season Ticket Deposits for all Reserved Seating at LIVESTRONG SportingPark by calling 888-4KC-GOAL or visiting www.SportingKC.com.

FOLLOW SPORTING KC ONLINE

Sporting Kansas City fans looking to keep up with the club on the worldwide web now have a place to go. The social media page on SportingKC.com features Twitter account information for the club, its players as well as many staff members. Additionally, fans maytake advantage of the Media Recap page for all the latest independent news coverage available online.

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Major League Soccer Stories from November 21, 2012


The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.