A Game Changer
A Look Into The Pinnacle National Development Center
Kansas City and The World Cup. Both big names when it comes to soccer. Surprised? Then you need to know about one of soccer’s most up and coming training facilities here in our own backyard, the Pinnacle National Development Center!
Spanning a total of over 50 acres and coming fully equipped with multiple indoor and outdoor practice fields, all-inclusive locker rooms, a large multipurpose gymnasium and much more, Pinnacle is truly a site to behold. In addition to being the primary training base for Sporting Kansas City, Pinnacle is the home to the U.S. Soccer programming, providing a permanent location for the education of coaches and referees. Add in the Children’s Mercy Sports Medicine Center and Pinnacle is quickly establishing itself as a game-changer not only for soccer players and sports enthusiasts, but for Kansas City as a whole.
Despite this lavish facility’s immediate success, Pinnacle originally began as little more than a far-fetched idea. Due to soccer’s rise in popularity within the United States, and of course its immense popularity worldwide, the concept of a large soccer training facility located somewhere within the central region of the country had been toyed with by various entities for a number of years. Although the idea certainly held promise, with a lack of funding and overall vision, the concept seemed destined to go nowhere. Fortunately, this would soon change thanks to the “dream team” partnership of U.S. Soccer, Sporting KC, and Children’s Mercy, a new vision began to take shape.
This never before seen collaboration between two national and professional sports teams along with a highly prestigious pediatric care provider proved to be the recipe need to create a multipurpose training facility, devoted to providing both professional and youth athletes with the highest quality facility and resources. Officially christened “The Pinnacle” the appropriately named collaboration eventually grew into a $75 million-dollar world class sporting and research complex with all the accommodations necessary for all athletes to achieve at the highest level.
Sporting KC and U.S. National Teams
Sporting KC’s senior team and coaching staff were excited to be a part of everything this 80,000+ sq. ft. training facility has to offer.
“While certainly it took some getting used to” says the Pinnacle’s GM Rick Dressel, “the players really love it!”
Between three full size practice fields, touch screen TV equipped locker rooms, and hydrotherapy and recovery suits, Pinnacle’s owners have left no stone unturned, thus exceeding any previous expectations. With the countless number of new tools and resources now available, its seems the sky’s the limit for the Sporting KC and the U.S. national teams and things can only progress from here.
“Our goal has to be to win a World Cup. And then we have to pursue that every day in everything that we do to try to reach that goal” as stated by Sporting KC’s head coach Peter Vermes. “The nation is ready for this. And I think it’s coming at the right time.”
In addition to having a facility to host our national teams, Pinnacle also serves as home base for the U.S. Soccer National Coaching Education Center. This education center will specifically act as a springboard to those with the ambition of coaching or refereeing the sport on any level, by providing them with the proper education and fundamentals to develop and fine-tune their skills.
“Perhaps one of the biggest challenges facing soccer in the United States is simply a lack of education,” Dressel explains. “With the opening of the education center, we hope to continue the sport’s progression by providing formal education and training needed for future coaches and officials.”
The Children’s Mercy Sports Medicine Center
With no shortage of excitement and coverage frequently surrounding the national and professional teams training facility, it’s a bit hard to imagine there being room for much else. However, there is an equally as exciting and very important activity taking place on the other side of Pinnacle as well.
Walk through one set of doors, you enter into a first-class training and rehabilitation center owned and operated by Kansas City’s own Children’s Mercy Hospital. Utilized by Sporting KC’s players, the sports medicine center also holds the unique distinction of catering to the rehabilitation and prevention of injuries in adolescent and teenage athletes from all different sports.
As certainly any athlete can attest to, a typical sports related injury can sometimes have a significant impact on even the highest trained professional athlete. However, for a young inexperienced athlete such an injury can be devastating and may even worsen over time. In acting as a resource for athletes by providing them with the knowledge and care needed for a healthier future, the service offered by the staff of the sports medicine center is truly remarkable to say the least.
“Our job here is to not only provide young athletes with the necessary means to recover from injuries, but also to ensure such injuries don’t occur again,” explained the Sports Medicine Centers Operations Manager Jason Yoder, DPT.
By offering young athletes the most comprehensive treatment possible with a keen emphasis on preventing any further setbacks, this center has distinguished itself as being KC’s preeminent rehabilitation center in the area with an extensive sports medicine staff of doctors, sports physical therapists and athletic trainers. Perhaps what truly makes the sports medicine center special is the all-inclusive atmosphere at the Children’s Mercy gym. This 12,870 square foot gymnasium lies at the heart of the facility and has quickly become a favorite amongst athletes, trainers, and guests alike! Here in this gymnasium, young athletes from all ages and walks of life are given the opportunity to interact with and work alongside the professional athletes from the Sporting KC and U.S. teams. This unique environment serves not only to generate interest amongst aspiring youth athletes, but also a way to teach and ultimately inspire them when recuperating from the physical and mental distress caused by injuries.
The Great Hall Event Space
Although Pinnacle clearly has much to offer for both professional and youth athletics, the faculties available at the sporting complex reach even further than that. Boasting a 2,900 square foot dining hall, Pinnacle is an ideal location for hosting a multitude of different events and can be made available to you via booking online. From business meetings and corporate dinners, to holiday parties or wedding receptions, with its retractable walls and a large balcony overlooking the practice fields, the dining hall can be altered to suit the occasion.
World Cup 2026
With the 2026 World Cup on the horizon, Kansas City has pushed its way into being in the top 17 U.S cities in contention to host a World Cup game. The addition of Pinnacle has made KC a very attractive location to either host a game (at Arrowhead) or be utilized as a place for World Cup teams to play Friendlies and hold training practices. With the KCI airport reconfiguration and the state-of-the-art facilities KC has to offer, our fingers are crossed.
A Place For Everyone
With accessible new technology, dedication to achievement, and lofty future goals, the Pinnacle National Development Center has quite possibly set a new standard of excellence. And while highly impressive with cutting edge technology and vast assortment of fancy amenities, what truly makes this training complex wonderful is the basic core principles it was founded upon. By creating a safe environment for all athletes to work hard, grow, and learn to be all that they can be, Pinnacle truly is the new crown jewel of both American soccer, and the Kansas City sports community!
For more information about the Sports Medicine Center, visit ChildrensMercy.org/SportsMedicine