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Purpose-built for Women

The KC Current has world's first facilities built for a women's pro team

At Dani Welniak’s office in Riverside, it’s not uncommon for the floor to shake and rumble. No, it’s not an earthquake, but it is a big one.

Dani is the communications director for the Kansas City Current and her office is on the second floor of the women’s soccer team’s practice facility in Riverside. Just below her is the weight room.

“The music starts pounding and Lo’Eau Labonta starts pumping and the whole building is filled with the energy and power of this team,” Dani says.

Much has been said this spring about the opening of the CPKC Stadium on Kansas City’s riverfront, the first sports stadium in the world built specifically for a professional women’s team. But before the stadium came this Northland practice facility, also the first in the world purpose-built for a professional women’s sports team.

“People ask what makes it different because it’s a women’s facility, a women’s stadium,” Dani says. “Nothing. It’s equal, and that’s what’s so amazing. It’s not an auxiliary space, not a left-over or hand-me-down. It’s equal to what has ever been built for a men’s pro team.”

The practice facility, visible from I-635 and Horizons Parkway, includes two practice pitches, weight rooms, massage spaces, whirlpools, a dietary center and everything you’ll find at Sporting, the Chiefs and the Royals training spaces.

The equality is what it’s about.

But a couple of other things that make it and the team special is that the office staff — all of those people who sell tickets, manage operations, travel schedules, statisticians, public relations — are just upstairs. This is not the case in most NWSL operations.

“If a player has something on her mind, like wanting to get involved in the community or partnering with some project, they can just run upstairs and have a chat,” says Dani. “It creates a tight bond between everyone and it’s all to support the players.”

The facility opened on June 21, 2022. By 2026, just in time for the FIFA World Cup in Kansas City, co-owners Chris and Angie Long and Patrick and Brittany Mahomes plan an expansion that will provide ten youth soccer pitches and supporting facilities in Riverside.

From the pitch, you can almost see the Missouri River. You can almost see the Kit Bond Bridge and the CPKC Stadium. You can see the fireworks when the game begins. Listen closely. You might hear the train whistle when the Current scores a goal.

And they’ve been doing that a lot lately.

The 11,500-seat stadium has been sold out and is almost as loud as Arrowhead on game day.  While the season tickets sold out long before the March 16 home opener, Current management withheld 2,000 single-game tickets for fans throughout the season.

Steven Archuleta of Liberty is one of those season ticket holders, but unfortunately, he’s not seen much action on the pitch yet. He works part-time in guest services operating an elevator and directing those unfamiliar with the new space to where they want to go.

“I took this job to be a part of history,” Steven says. “It’s about the bragging rights that I’m a part of this first season.” His 22-year-old daughter Serena sits in the family’s season seats, and that’s just fine with him.

But before you take your seats, take time to look around. On the northwest side of the stadium, just around the corner from the team store, pay your respects to The 85’ers. These are the 17 women who played on the 1985 U.S. women’s national soccer team, the first U.S. women’s soccer team.

Their photos are on the wall and a short video tells the team's story. You can find a detailed look at each woman’s story on the KC Current app.

An interior hallway includes an exhibit from Chris and Angie Long’s personal art collection. Called “Line of Sight,” it features the work of female contemporary artists with a Kansas City connection. The collection was selected based on its representation of “unstoppable passion, pride, strength and determination that exists when women come together to aim high, share a common goal, and achieve a collective vision.”

But get to your seat early and join the celebration. You may want to consider ear protection for yourself or little ones. With the fireworks, the train whistles, the drums, and the cheers, it gets loud. As it should.

This is KC! BAY BEE!


What Is Title IX?

Title IX is a 1972 amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It prohibits gender-based discrimination in schools and other educational programs that receive federal funding.

The greatest impact was in high school and college athletics. For example, if a public school provides funding for a boys’ basketball team, it must provide equal funding for a girls’ basketball team. Some studies report as much as a 450 percent increase in the number of high school girls participating in organized athletics with the implementation of Title IX.

The result is a professional women’s soccer team and a stadium purpose-built for them, finally, in Kansas City.

“I took this job to be a part of history."

"It’s equal to what has ever been built for a men’s pro team.”