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  • LAFC has opened life in MLS with a splash, while some of its Western Conference counterparts are going to great lengths to keep up and maintain their turf. Here are the numbers behind our MLS Ambition Rankings for the teams out west.
By Grant Wahl and Brian Straus
April 23, 2018

In conducting our annual MLS Ambition Rankings, we rely on the clubs to provide us with information and details used to compile our rankings. There are different ways to define ambition, which go well beyond roster spending. What are the prospects for the near- and long-term future? What is a team's stadium experience like? How aggressive are teams challenging for trophies on multiple fronts? Those are just some of the questions we strive to answer in painting as detailed a picture as possible in a league where total transparency has not always been a calling card.

Every club in the league was asked the same questions and given an opportunity to respond in as much or little depth as they were willing to offer, with some questions pertaining only to a certain set of clubs due to their involvement in Concacaf Champions League, while others haven't had the opportunity to participate. And for expansion club LAFC, there are not years of past experience to use as a reference point for growth.

These are the answers provided directly by the clubs, edited only for clarity, with some being more forthcoming than others and one club declining to participate (check out the answers provided by the Eastern Conference clubs here):

COLORADO RAPIDS

1 - How much money has your club spent across the past three years on Designated Players (transfer fees + salaries)? How much are you spending in 2018?

The club has made significant investments in Designated Players Tim Howard and Shkëlzen Gashi over the past three seasons, and has continued to improve the on-field product by investing significant sums as part of the new MLS discretionary TAM initiative in 2018.

2 - How much has your club spent across the past three years on youth development? How many fully-funded (free) youth teams do you field?

The club continues to place a strong emphasis on our Development Academy and to providing a clear pathway to MLS for our local players.

We currently have six fully-funded youth teams (U12, U13, U14, U15, U17, U19) and a U23 team competing in the PDL. A testament to the academy’s success, the club’s 2018 first-team roster will include four homegrown players in Kortne Ford, Dillon Serna, Ricardo Perez, as well as the most recent (and youngest) in club history, defender Sam Vines. It’s also worth mentioning that the club’s Development Academy has produced 20 NCAA Division I signings over the past three seasons.

3 - Have you upgraded your stadium in the past year, or are you building--or in the process of upgrading--your stadium? What is the cost?

This past offseason, the club engaged in numerous stadium improvements with the intent of elevating the overall fan, staff, and player experience at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Those renovations include significant locker room improvements, as well as the addition of new sideline LED boards, a new hydrotherapy room in the club’s medical facilities, and new magnetometers at each stadium entrance.

4 - Where does your first team train? Have you upgraded, or are you building or improving, your first-team training facility? What is the cost?

With 24 fields surrounding Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, the stadium was built to accommodate first team training sessions.

5 - Do you have a USL and/or NWSL team? If so, what are the operating and salary budgets for that team(s)?

The club enjoys a fruitful partnership with USL affiliate Charlotte Independence. Four of the [Rapids’] 2018 first-team roster have spent time in Charlotte, and just this offseason the club signed Independence midfielder and two-time USL MVP candidate Enzo Martinez to a first-team contract. Martinez started both matches in the club’s Concacaf Champions League round-of-16 matchup with Toronto.

6 - How many front office employees does your club have? How many have you added or subtracted over the past year?

This is an area that the club has invested in heavily this past offseason, adding three executive front office positions in assistant GM Fran Taylor—who joins the club from Arsenal-owned data and analytics firm StatDNA—as well as former Seattle Sounders strength and conditioning coach Chad Kolarcik as the club’s new director of performance/sports science, and new director of player personnel Ena Patel, who joins the club from international law firm Baker & Makenzie.

The total number of front office staff now rests at over 70 individuals.

7 - Please provide your starting XIs for your first two U.S. Open Cup or Canadian Championship games of 2017 (or just the first, if you lost your USOC opener).

Game 1 (3-2 vs. Oklahoma City Energy)

GK Zac MacMath; Ds Dillon Serna, Eric Miller, Bobby Burling, Dennis Castillo; MFs Jared Watts, Sam Hamilton, Ricardo Perez, Dillon Powers, Josh Gatt; F Alan Gordon.

Game 2 (1-3 at FC Dallas)

GK Zac MacMath; Ds Mekeil Williams, Axel Sjoberg, Kortne Ford, Dennis Castillo; MFs Bismark Boateng, Sam Hamilton, Ricardo Perez, Dillon Powers, Shkëlzen Gashi; F Caleb Calvert.

8 - This question is for clubs that participated in the Concacaf Champions League at least once in the past five seasons: Did your club do anything special or extra to prepare for CCL competition, such as training or playing friendlies abroad, sending scouts abroad or scheduling different preseason opponents? What was the cost associated with the preparation?

The club was in a unique position heading in to the 2018 Concacaf Champions League as, given the team’s extensive overhaul, the club was incorporating a largely new technical staff—including a new head coach—as well as a new system and 12 changes to the first-team roster. Given the amount of new additions, the club took a longer-term view of the preseason, prioritizing CCL as a part of the pre-season preparation building toward the 2018 MLS opener.


FC DALLAS

1 - How much money has your club spent across the past three years on Designated Players (transfer fees + salaries)? How much are you spending in 2018?

We listed $15 million over the last five [years] for an average of $3 million per year, last [ambition ranking] survey. We’re a little above average this season at $3.5 million in 2018.

2 - How much has your club spent across the past three years on youth development? How many fully-funded (free) youth teams do you field?

$1.5 million per year for a total of $4.5 million in the past three years. Nine youth teams are fully funded.

3 - Have you upgraded your stadium in the past year, or are you building--or in the process of upgrading--your stadium? What is the cost?

Yes. Toyota Stadium cost $80 million in 2005. The current expansion project that includes space for the National Soccer Hall of Fame has bumped the total cost to more than $58.4 million.

4 - Where does your first team train? Have you upgraded, or are you building or improving, your first-team training facility? What is the cost?

Toyota Soccer Center. As part of the Toyota Stadium expansion that includes the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame, the first team will have new game-day locker rooms. Changes and upgrades to the project, which also includes space for the National Soccer Hall of Fame, have bumped the total costs to more than $58.4 million.

5 - Do you have a USL and/or NWSL team? If so, what are the operating and salary budgets for that team(s)?

We run everything through our affiliate OKC Energy FC, but the club still spends around $200,000.

6 - How many front office employees does your club have? How many have you added or subtracted over the past year?

127, added.

7 - Please provide your starting XIs for your first two U.S. Open Cup or Canadian Championship games of 2017 (or just the first, if you lost your USOC opener).

Game 1 (2-1 vs. Tulsa Roughnecks)

GK Chris Seitz; Ds Ryan Hollingshead, Matt Hedges, Walker Hume, Reggie Cannon; MFs Victor Ulloa, Javier Morales, Coy Craft, Mauro Díaz, Paxton Pomykal; F Cristian Colmán.

Game 2 (3-1 vs. Colorado Rapids)

GK Chris Seitz; Ds Ryan Hollingshead, Maynor Figueroa, Walker Hume, Reggie Cannon; MFs Victor Ulloa, Carlos Cermeño, Roland Lamah, Mauro Díaz, Paxton Pomykal; F Cristian Colmán.

8 - This question is for clubs that participated in the Concacaf Champions League at least once in the past five seasons: Did your club do anything special or extra to prepare for CCL competition, such as training or playing friendlies abroad, sending scouts abroad or scheduling different preseason opponents? What was the cost associated with the preparation?

Yes, we did something different. We tried to speed up our preseason preparation to allow ourselves to attain match full fitness ahead of schedule. In 2017, we went to Argentina and played eight games in 10 days against first-division competition. The cost associated with that is somewhere between $40,000 and $50,000.


HOUSTON DYNAMO

1 - How much money has your club spent across the past three years on Designated Players (transfer fees + salaries)? How much are you spending in 2018?

While we cannot disclose actual numbers, we have made a significantly increased investment on Designated Players within the last year. Prior to the Erick Torres transfer last month, we were using all three of our Designated Player spots. Last summer, we brought in MF Tomás Martínez, a 21-year-old Argentine, on a transfer from Sporting Braga. This winter we finalized a full transfer of Alberth Elis, the 22-year-old Honduran winger, from Monterrey. Our DP investments are significant and demonstrate our ownership’s willingness to invest in the on-field product.

2 - How much has your club spent across the past three years on youth development? How many fully-funded (free) youth teams do you field?

Again, while we cannot disclose actual numbers, we continue to make an increased annual investment into our youth academy. We have 10 fully-funded teams, including a Houston Dynamo Academy-West team at the U12 level that was just announced by the USSDA [on March 9].

Each year we add various resources and assets to continue to build the program. This past fall, we partnered with a major youth club in the greater Houston area to establish an integrated grassroots program that provides nearly 6,000 boys and girls a direct pathway to the Dynamo or Dash first team.

3 - Have you upgraded your stadium in the past year, or are you building--or in the process of upgrading--your stadium? What is the cost?

We have made major investments into our nearly six-year-old stadium over the past year. Without disclosing the investment total, we can report that we have renovated the entire concourse, creating an entirely new experience for fans that is much more reflective of our community and particularly the neighborhood that we call home.

All of the concessions stands have been upgraded to improve the speed of service, the look and feel, and the quality of food on offer; and [the club] added new social areas in each corner of the stadium, including a dedicated Kids Corner that offers smaller and healthier portions, interactive games, and kid-friendly prices for our youngest fans and their parents.

Separately, we installed a new LED system and added a digital antenna system. We are in the process of replacing all of our premium seats. We created two new group hospitality spaces—the East End Ice House, which is located on the exterior of the stadium’s east side and provides a great pregame hospitality opportunity; and the Pitchside Patio, located right off the end line, making it the only field-level group hospitality space in Houston. We will continue to make meaningful capital improvements to enhance the fan experience.

4 - Where does your first team train? Have you upgraded, or are you building or improving, your first-team training facility? What is the cost?

Our first team trains on the Methodist Champions Field at the Houston Sports Park. That field is solely dedicated to the use of the Dynamo first team year round, while the Sports Park also offers six other fields for the Dash, Academy and other teams, including an all-weather FieldTurf surface. It is six-year-old facility, and we have made year-over-year changes to continuously improve it.

5 - Do you have a USL and/or NWSL team? If so, what are the operating and salary budgets for that team(s)?

We have a USL team (Rio Grande Valley Toros) and an NWSL team (Houston Dash).

We were the first in MLS to adopt the hybrid affiliation with a USL team, whereby the club is owned and operated by an independent party but we control the technical side, thus funding all elements of that, including but not limited to coaches’ and players’ salaries.

That model, while unusual when we launched it, is now being replicated and/or explored by several other MLS clubs. Additionally, we field a PDL team during the summer that trains at Houston Sports Park but plays in College Station (home of Texas A&M), roughly 90 minutes away. This creates further developmental opportunities for our Academy players who aren’t quite ready for the USL or who are on summer break, and it helps extend our club beyond the Houston area as well, much like RGV FC has done.

As for the Dash, we were the second MLS team to join NWSL behind Portland. We run and fully fund the operations of the club. We’re the only club in the United States to field teams in MLS, NWSL and USL along with a boys academy and a girls academy, thanks to the partnership referenced in the second question.

6 - How many front office employees does your club have? How many have you added or subtracted over the past year?

Not counting team staff for Dynamo, Dash and the Academy (coaches, trainers, kit men, video analysts, etc.), we have approximately 80 full-time employees on the business side. We have added every year.

7 - Please provide your starting XIs for your first two U.S. Open Cup or Canadian Championship games of 2017 (or just the first, if you lost your USOC opener).

Game 1 (3-2 at North Carolina FC)

GK Joe Willis; Ds Dylan Remick, Taylor Hunter, Jalil Anibaba, Kevin Garcia; MFs Charlie Ward, Eric Bird, Memo Rodríguez, Joseph Holland, Vicente Sanchez; F Andrew Wenger.

Game 2 (0-2 vs. Sporting Kansas City)

GK Joe Willis; Ds Dylan Remick, Taylor Hunter, Jalil Anibaba, Kevin Garcia; MFs Charlie Ward, Eric Bird, Memo Rodríguez, Alex, Andrew Wenger; F Vicente Sanchez.

8 - This question is for clubs that participated in the Concacaf Champions League at least once in the past five seasons: Did your club do anything special or extra to prepare for CCL competition, such as training or playing friendlies abroad, sending scouts abroad or scheduling different preseason opponents? What was the cost associated with the preparation?

Our last appearance in the CCL was in 2012. A lot has changed in that time span as to how MLS teams prepare. Our preparations at that time were consistent with what was being done league-wide. Should we participate again in the future, we’d expect our preparations to take on a different approach and focus on the best opportunity for success.


LAFC

1 - How much money has your club spent across the past three years on Designated Players (transfer fees + salaries)? How much are you spending in 2018?

$17 million in 2018.

2 - How much has your club spent across the past three years on youth development? How many fully-funded (free) youth teams do you field?

$1.5 million over the past 18 months. We have three teams in 2018.

3 - Have you upgraded your stadium in the past year, or are you building--or in the process of upgrading--your stadium? What is the cost?

In the process of building a state-of-the-art, $350 million stadium in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, which hosts its first match April 29.

4 - Where does your first team train? Have you upgraded, or are you building or improving, your first-team training facility? What is the cost?

Our first team and Academy has moved into a new, state-of-the-art, $30 million facility on the campus of Cal-State Los Angeles.

5 - Do you have a USL and/or NWSL team? If so, what are the operating and salary budgets for that team(s)?

We currently have an affiliation with Orange County SC of the USL.

6 - How many front office employees does your club have? How many have you added or subtracted over the past year?

Approximately 115. Added more staff this season.


LA GALAXY

1 - How much money has your club spent across the past three years on Designated Players (transfer fees + salaries)? How much are you spending in 2018?

2015—$11.0 million.

2016—$13.7 million.

2017—$12.0 million.

2018—$17.3 million.

2 - How much has your club spent across the past three years on youth development? How many fully-funded (free) youth teams do you field?

Past five years—$16.1 million.

Past year—$4.2 million.

LA Galaxy continued to invest substantially in youth development through the LA Galaxy Academy Blended Learning Program, which provides a full high school education at StubHub Center for student athletes immersed in the same professional environment as LA Galaxy and LA Galaxy II. Last year, the Blended Learning Program saw its first class of graduates. It is the only program in North America that allows Academy players to train and develop using the same facilities, schedule, and resources as an MLS and USL team.

The LA Galaxy launched LA Galaxy Girls’ U14, U15, U16/17 and U18/19 Academy teams that will compete in the U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy. We will have four girls’ academy teams. U14 and U15 are split. The LA Galaxy Girls’ Academy teams launch is the first and only girls academy program to be fully-funded by a Major League Soccer side, allowing talented local athletes to join free of charge.

This year, the LA Galaxy will host the LA Galaxy Cup, the club’s inaugural international tournament that will see world-class teams from across the globe competing in Southern California with Boys’ and Girls’ Development Academy and club teams at the U12-U19 levels. The LA Galaxy Cup is designed to give the LA Galaxy Academy and Galaxy partner youth clubs the platform to compete against global competition from the earliest ages possible. Manchester United, Swansea City, FC Porto and Club Tijuana are currently scheduled to participate, in addition to various MLS and USSDA youth sides.

The LA Galaxy will also renovate and upgrade the Track & Field Stadium at StubHub Center in order to maintain U.S. Soccer Division 2 requirements, to ensure LA Galaxy II will continue to have professional developmental opportunities.

3 - Have you upgraded your stadium in the past year, or are you building--or in the process of upgrading--your stadium? What is the cost?

Upgrades ($20 million-plus in past year) to StubHub Center facilities, including:

—New LED south video board, LED ribbon boards, renovated suites, locker room renovations and upgraded club seats.

—A new 20x52 LED video board on the south side of the stadium to compliment GalaxyTV, the largest board in Major League Soccer.

—Suite upgrades throughout StubHub Center.

—State-of-the-art LED ribbon boards around StubHub Center.

—Upgrade to club seats in section 110-113.

—Tip-up seats in the upper sideline section to replace bleacher rows.

—StubHub Center announced a partnership with Long Beach Transit that improves transportation to the stadium by offering free Galaxy Express shuttles to and from StubHub Center from two local transit centers on LA Galaxy game days.

—StubHub Center partnered with Daktronics of Brookings, South Dakota, to design, manufacture and install five new LED displays this spring as the state-of-the-art facility improves its fan experience for the LA Galaxy. The new displays improve entertainment experience by providing an additional 5,000 square feet of display space. The south display features a 13HD pixel layout to provide crisp, clear imagery with wide-angle visibility. It also features industry-leading environmental protection for consistent performance in the outdoor elements.

—StubHub Center announced a new partnership with Mobilitie, the largest privately-held wireless infrastructure provider in the United States, to improve in-stadium wireless connectivity for fans. StubHub Center will be able to offer improved fan experiences, complete with the rich, interactive mobile capabilities, real-time video streaming, location-based services, social media, and other mobile applications all delivered with seamless connectivity from start to finish.

—The LA Galaxy and StubHub Center launched an in-stadium greenhouse, chicken coop and beehives that will cultivate various produce and food, which will be made available at StubHub Center for athletes and staff. The launch was a part of the Protect the Pitch program, an initiative designed to help the LA Galaxy and StubHub Center reduce carbon footprint and become more sustainable.

Since 2013, the LA Galaxy have now invested over $35 million into StubHub Center, including the implementation of the LED video board, the addition of the all-inclusive premium club Jim Beam Champions Lounge and upgrades to the American Express Stadium Club.

4 - Where does your first team train? Have you upgraded, or are you building or improving, your first-team training facility? What is the cost?

At StubHub Center in adjacent fields. The Galaxy use the stadium and its facilities for all team-related activities: on-field training, strength and fitness training, sports science and player rehabilitation or recovery.

The LA Galaxy have invested heavily to upgrade all player facilities, including state-of-the-art workout room, weight room, spa room, equipment room, additional space and offices for team technical and coaching staff, and the newly-renovated Herbalife Nutrition player lounge area for the LA Galaxy, LA Galaxy II and all LA Galaxy Academy teams.

StubHub Center recently became the first soccer-specific stadium in Major League Soccer to illuminate its field using high-efficiency LED sports lights. The new, upgraded lights use over 60% less energy than the lighting array it replaced and offers athletes enhanced vision of field during play.

The LA Galaxy invested $1 million to renovate Field 7 at StubHub Center, which is used as the official training field for the LA Galaxy Girls’ Academy. The renovations saw the installation of AstroTurf’s cutting-edge DT32 System, replacing the previous crumb rubber synthetic field in addition to implementing enhanced field lighting.

The LA Galaxy are the only club in the United States that offers use of the same location and facilities for players from the youth level to the ranks of the professional first team.

5 - Do you have a USL and/or NWSL team? If so, what are the operating and salary budgets for that team(s)?

LA Galaxy II—operating/salary budgets: $2.3 million.

6 - How many front office employees does your club have? How many have you added or subtracted over the past year?

LA Galaxy—92 front office employees. The club added 12 new full-time business operations positions in 2018.

7 - Please provide your starting XIs for your first two U.S. Open Cup or Canadian Championship games of 2017 (or just the first, if you lost your USOC opener).

Game 1 (3-1 vs. Orange County SC)

GK Jon Kempin; Ds Hugo Arellano, Jelle Van Damme, Dave Romney, Nathan Smith; MFs Rafael Garcia, Jaime Villarreal, Ariel Lassiter, Jose Villarreal, Bradford Jamieson IV; F Jack McBean.

Game 2 (2-0 vs. Sacramento Republic)

GK Jon Kempin; Ds Josh Turnley, Hugo Arellano, Dave Romney, Nathan Smith; MFs Rafael Garcia, Joao Pedro, Ariel Lassiter, Raul Mendiola, Bradford Jamieson IV; F Jack McInerney.

8 - This question is for clubs that participated in the Concacaf Champions League at least once in the past five seasons: Did your club do anything special or extra to prepare for CCL competition, such as training or playing friendlies abroad, sending scouts abroad or scheduling different preseason opponents? What was the cost associated with the preparation?

The LA Galaxy implement a rigorous training schedule in advance of any competition, including CCL matches before the start of the MLS season, which included scheduling opponents to best prepare the club, traveling abroad early to adjust to different climates, time zones, etc., and ensuring that our technical staff has fully scouted any opponent.

Cost associated with preparations: $175,000.


MINNESOTA UNITED

Declined multiple opportunities to provide answers. 


PORTLAND TIMBERS

1 - How much money has your club spent across the past three years on Designated Players (transfer fees + salaries)? How much are you spending in 2018?

The club has consistently featured a full complement of three Designated Players and has made significant investments in these players in the form of transfer fees and salary over the last three years for DPs Fanendo Adi, Sebastián Blanco, Lucas Melano and Diego Valeri.

Moreover, the Timbers have made significant investments in TAM players in that span, notably with the additions of four new TAM players leading into the 2018 season (Samuel Armenteros, Julio Cascante, Cristhian Paredes and Andy Polo). The club, which will utilize its full allotment of mandatory and discretionary TAM equaling over $4 million over the course of the 2018 season, currently features three DPs (Adi, Blanco and Valeri) and seven TAM players (Armenteros, Cascante, Diego Chara, Larrys Mabiala, Paredes, Polo and Liam Ridgewell).

2 - How much has your club spent across the past three years on youth development? How many fully-funded (free) youth teams do you field?

The club doubled down on youth development spending over the last three years, and has increased its spending significantly since that point. The club now loses a net of $4 million a year between its youth development programs and its USL club, T2 ($3 million on youth development, $1 million on T2).

Youth development is a focal point for the club, and it will continue to increase this investment each year with the goal of consistently producing players that contribute to the first team each year from 2020 on. The club significantly increased spending at its development levels in the past two years, specifically, realizing its first homegrown player (Marco Farfan) to sign directly from the club’s academy and T2 programs in 2017, while also seeing a host of young players ascend through the ranks of its three-year-old T2 USL affiliate, manifested in additions to the first-team roster.

In 2018, the club signed its second homegrown player from its developing academy program, with the addition of Foster Langsdorf to the roster. Additionally, the club is investing in a significant expansion to its academy facilities to accommodate the further growth of the club, and has steadily increased spending in its youth development staff and robust youth partnerships across its territory. Additionally, T2 has added a host of quality young players for 2018 with this increased investment in development.

3 - Have you upgraded your stadium in the past year, or are you building--or in the process of upgrading--your stadium? What is the cost?

The club is investing more than $60 million in private funding to expand Providence Park, home of the Timbers and Portland Thorns FC. A two-phase project that is currently underway and will be completed for the 2019 season, the stadium expansion project will add more than 4,000 new seats and a striking street-level colonnade to the east side of the historic stadium, allowing the club to accommodate a sizable number of the more than 14,000 fans on the season ticket waiting list.

The expansion project takes a vertical approach to the existing stadium footprint and will increase venue capacity to more than 25,000 for the Timbers, who have sold out every home regular-season and playoff game since the beginning of their inaugural MLS season in 2011 (125 straight games leading into the 2018 season). The new three-level expansion on the east side will include 1,500 premium seats.

4 - Where does your first team train? Have you upgraded, or are you building or improving, your first-team training facility? What is the cost?

The Timbers train at the adidas Timbers Training Center in Beaverton, Ore. In addition to the considerable investment the Timbers are undertaking at Providence Park, the club is investing heavily in its training facility, with a current $5 million expansion project underway that will triple the size of the team’s six-year-old training home to 24,000 square feet.

Improvements include a massive new weight room, a film/theater room, new gourmet kitchen and dining facilities, additional auxiliary locker rooms, expanded treatment areas and enhanced media facilities. Plans are also underway to add fields both to the first-team training center and academy.

5 - Do you have a USL and/or NWSL team? If so, what are the operating and salary budgets for that team(s)?

The club owns and operates a USL team (Portland Timbers 2) and an NWSL team (Portland Thorns FC). Thorns FC have won two NWSL championships and one NWSL Shield in their five seasons and rank as the top-attended women’s professional sports team in the world, averaging more than 17,000 fans per game in 2018. The club’s USL team, T2, is entering its fourth season in 2018. The club invests heavily in both programs.

The club’s investment in the women’s game and the Thorns position as the gold standard for women’s soccer is a reflection of its overall ambition as a soccer club, not just a men’s soccer club.

6 - How many front office employees does your club have? How many have you added or subtracted over the past year?

140 full-time employees (e.g. with benefits)—up approximately 20 employees from last year.

7 - Please provide your starting XIs for your first two U.S. Open Cup or Canadian Championship games of 2017 (or just the first, if you lost your USOC opener).

Game 1 (1-2 at Seattle Sounders)

GK Jeff Attinella; Ds Marco Farfan, Lamar Batista, Rennico Clarke, Harold Hanson; MFs Victor Arboleda, Ben Zemanski, Andre Lewis, Omar Mohamed; Fs Jeremy Ebobisse, Augustine Williams.

Lineup decisions for the 2017 edition of the U.S. Open Cup, specifically, were balanced due to MLS schedule congestion, injuries, projected opponent lineup and field conditions. In balancing multiple competitions over the course of a season, the club has clearly stated that CCL is a priority, along with the MLS regular season and playoffs, but USOC is not.

8 - This question is for clubs that participated in the Concacaf Champions League at least once in the past five seasons: Did your club do anything special or extra to prepare for CCL competition, such as training or playing friendlies abroad, sending scouts abroad or scheduling different preseason opponents? What was the cost associated with the preparation?

Leading into the 2016-17 edition of the Concacaf Champions League, the Timbers placed an emphasis on signing players with significant CCL experience in the offseason and extensively scouted opponents games, facilities and accommodations in advance of the competition.

Additionally, the club traveled by charter and made additional investments in the form of added security, medical team, food and accommodations during away games. The club placed a great emphasis on CCL while managing and balancing multiple competitions over the course of the season.


REAL SALT LAKE

1 - How much money has your club spent across the past three years on Designated Players (transfer fees + salaries)? How much are you spending in 2018?

To open the 2018 season, RSL will have the following DPs on the roster: Albert Rusnák, Jefferson Savarino and Yura Movsisyan. Their combined salaries for 2018 are expected in the $3.3 million range.

The [combined] transfer fees for the three players listed above were approximately $2.5 million, while fees paid in recent years are likely about $2.5 million, including TAM acquisitions. To clarify, all $5 million has been spent in the past 3 windows.

2 - How much has your club spent across the past three years on youth development? How many fully-funded (free) youth teams do you field?

In the past three years, we have spent north of $12 million on youth development for our U19, U17 and U15 teams, including housing, instruction, travel (domestic and international). This total does not include the move from Arizona to Utah, the establishment of the RSL Academy High School (which opened in August 2017), and the $78 million physical facility now fully opening in Herriman, just 15 minutes from Rio Tinto Stadium.

Also, in December in North Logan, Utah (owner Dell Loy Hansen’s hometown), RSL opened the first of six planned “regional training centers” across Utah and Arizona. The $6 million facility—which includes an outdoor field, an indoor field and a classroom/locker room setup—is designed to give kids ages 7-14 the opportunity to gain time on the ball, learn/hone basic skills and for local youth teams, coaches, referees, parents, etc., the opportunity to operate under an RSL-driven curriculum that includes various sessions led by both current and former professional players from both the men’s and women’s sides of the organization.

Future sites include: Ogden, Rose Park/Taylorsville, Orem, St. George, Phoenix and Tucson.

Additionally, two clubs in the Phoenix area, the legendary Sereno FC and Legacy FC, recently combined under the “RSL Arizona” umbrella, bringing 10,000 boys and girls in the most populous area of our region into the RSL pipeline.

Evidence of the club’s youth commitment was on full display last spring and summer, as it placed five players—25% of USA U20 coach Tab Ramos’s team – on the Concacaf champion and FIFA U20 quarterfinalists. Justen Glad, Brooks Lennon, Danny Acosta and Aaron Herrera were consistent starters in both international tourneys, with Sebastian Saucedo appearing regularly off the bench and finding the back of the net.

The inclusion of this young, dynamic quintet on RSL’s 2018 roster brings to eight the number of homegrown academy players on Mike Petke’s squad, as Jordan Allen, Jose Hernandez and Corey Baird also have matriculated to MLS from the club’s academy roots.

All told, RSL entered the 2018 preseason with 13 players at or under the age of 24.

3 - Have you upgraded your stadium in the past year, or are you building--or in the process of upgrading--your stadium? What is the cost?

Ongoing projects spanning the 2017-18 seasons include the establishment of the Audi Executive Club, a 256-seat premium area with four-seat memberships sold out on multi-year deals at $25,000 per year to create a premium business networking experience (roughly $1.6 million per year of premium revenue).

Cost of the club, which occupies a previously undeveloped piece of the east side concourse at Rio Tinto Stadium, was just under $2.5 million. Rio Tinto Stadium is also currently undergoing a new wi-fi upgrade. The venue now boasts connectivity through its “Red Sky” partner and infrastructure, designed to enable 20,000 fans in a confined area to stream video replays on personal devices, upload social images and video, etc.

Also, Rio Tinto Stadium has upgraded its locker room offerings for Utah Royals FC, spending $1 million in design/construction costs in the last three months, following a significant upgrade three years ago to the RSL lounge. Finally, RSL’s broadcast infrastructure is receiving an upgrade with a permanent set location in the 2nd floor “Interform Club” for pre/halftime/post-game content with Brian Dunseth and other talent, complete with video wall installations to maximize partner elements behind the set and in the first-floor press conference location, made famous by Mike Petke and now welcoming Laura Harvey.

4 - Where does your first team train? Have you upgraded, or are you building or improving, your first-team training facility? What is the cost?

RSL fully moved into its new $78 million Zions Bank Real Academy facility in March.

On Feb. 28, RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen was joined in Herriman by MLS commissioner Don Garber, Zions Bank CEO Scott Anderson, and other local, state and civic dignitaries for the official grand opening of the facility. It includes: the 5,000-seat Zions Bank Stadium; the indoor Zions Bank Training Center; North America’s largest free-span steel structure housing two regulation-size fields boasting “Greenfields” turf (the same surface used in the Dutch Eredivisie); five full-size grass “TORO Fields” for RSL, Monarchs and Academy use; the 90-bed residence hall for the club’s U19, U17 and visiting U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams; and the 300-student RSL Academy High School, chartered in conjunction with Jordan School District with a STEM curriculum.

5 - Do you have a USL and/or NWSL team? If so, what are the operating and salary budgets for that team(s)?

The Zions Bank Real Academy campus will also serve as the daily training home for the club’s USL side, Real Monarchs SLC, which enters its fourth season of existence in March. In cases of inclement weather, the NWSL Utah Royals FC will also train in the spectacular Herriman facility.

The Monarchs—coached by Mike Petke for one game last year prior to his promotion to the first team and now headed by former Petke assistant Mark Briggs (who is assisted by former MLS players Jámison Olave and Danny Cruz)—captured the 2017 USL regular-season shield title with Chandler Hoffman, Sebastian Velasquez and several other D2 standouts. Three Monarchs players—Taylor Peay, Nick Besler and Connor Sparrow—earned MLS contracts in late 2017 or during the 2018 offseason based on their performances. The Monarchs have served as a competitive home for numerous young rookie and/or academy-developed MLS players in the club’s system. Justen Glad, Jordan Allen, Ricardo Velazco and Chris Schuler are just a few players—along with former Monarchs coach Freddy Juarez—who have used their USL time to secure first-team permanence or increased roles.

Annual budget estimated in the $2 million range.

New for 2018 is the arrival at Rio Tinto Stadium of the NWSL’s Utah Royals FC, which arrived in Utah back in November, just two weeks after Portland owner Merritt Paulsen called Dell Loy Hansen and said, “The NWSL needs you,” regarding to the failing FC Kansas City side.

The winningest coach in NWSL history, Laura Harvey, was quickly hired by Hansen before Thanksgiving, just weeks after she resigned from Seattle Reign, presumably for a potential USA or England national team job. By December 1, the fledgling club had a name, logo and merchandise in production, selling nearly 3,000 season tickets out of the gate and an additional 3,000-5,000 expected now that the 2018 schedule has been released.

Hansen and the club expect Rio Tinto Stadium to have 20,000 fans dressed in the club’s primary gold color cheering on USA stars Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara and Amy Rodriguez; Canada’s Desiree Scott, Diana Matheson and Maegan Kelly; Iceland’s Gunny Jonsdottir, Norway’s Elise Thorsnes, Australia’s Katrina Gorry, New Zealand’s Katie Bowen and several others for the inaugural game on April 14, which will be showcased on national TV via Lifetime Networks’ NWSL Game of the Week.

In Hansen’s push for female empowerment, advancement and pay equality, the Utah Royals FC will benefit from a million-dollar renovation of Rio Tinto Stadium to create the NWSL home locker room, along with housing, cars, fuel, appearance fees and community involvement as permitted by the NWSL labor agreement to supplement salaries and provide a truly world-class professional atmosphere for our female athletes, on par or exceeding that on the MLS/USL side.

6 - How many front office employees does your club have? How many have you added or subtracted over the past year?

With the advent of Real Monarchs (2015), Utah Royals FC (2018) and the opening of the Zions Bank Real Academy facility in Herriman, as well as the youth foundation and community outreach efforts across Utah and Arizona, the club’s front office, coaching and business support staffs have tripled in the past four years, rising from just 40 full-time employees to more than 120.

7 - Please provide your starting XIs for your first two U.S. Open Cup or Canadian Championship games of 2017 (or just the first, if you lost your USOC opener).

Game 1 (1-4 at Sacramento Republic)

GK Lalo Fernandez; Ds Max Lachowecki, Justin Schmidt, James Moberg, Reagan Dunk; MFs Sebastián Saucedo; Omar Holness, Nick Besler, Jordan Allen; Fs Ricardo Velazco, José Hernández.

Followed international break--three days before return to MLS action in home game against Minnesota, looking to snap run of three losses in four-game stretch.

8 - This question is for clubs that participated in the Concacaf Champions League at least once in the past five seasons: Did your club do anything special or extra to prepare for CCL competition, such as training or playing friendlies abroad, sending scouts abroad or scheduling different preseason opponents? What was the cost associated with the preparation?

Historically, we have played international exhibitions with foreign clubs and certainly have sent multiple scouts for group/knockout opponents in CCL play. Additional cost was negligible compared what we have normally done in preseason or summer friendlies, which is usually ambitious (Inter Milan 2016, Manchester United in 2017, Bundesliga opponent in 2018, etc.).

We usually spend approximately $1.5-$2 million per year for international games outside our regular MLS season ticket package, while also looking for ways to attract USA/Mexico men’s and women’s games to Rio Tinto Stadium for Gold Cup, exhibitions, Olympic qualifying, etc., so that our fans are exposed to the international nature of our sport.


SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES

1 - How much money has your club spent across the past three years on Designated Players (transfer fees + salaries)? How much are you spending in 2018?

For 2015 and 2016, we had three designated players both years for the first time in team history. In 2017, we had three DPs and signed our most expensive player in club history, Vako Qazaishvili, in the summer transfer window. We then followed up by signing one of our highest paid signings ever in Magnus Eriksson in December. Additionally, we bought out one of our DPs this year, Simon Dawkins; a big ownership expense that gives a lot more roster flexibility.

2 - How much has your club spent across the past three years on youth development? How many fully-funded (free) youth teams do you field?

The Quakes fully fund all their boys academy teams. Additionally, we have a youth club with 30 boys teams and 30 girls teams based in San Jose. We fund numerous scholarships for players in the youth club. Last year, we also started a Girls Development Academy and hired Andres Deza, one of the best-known girls youth coaches, to run it. We have numerous scholarships for that program as well.

This past year, we started two new fully-funded programs to help identify youth talent in the area: Partners in Development and U8 training. The Partners in Development program brings together top local players from 8-11 years old for training with our academy coaches. We have partnered with a number of youth clubs on this initiative. The players stay with their own youth club, but they get the experience of practicing at our stadium with our coaches. The kids train a few times a month with our coaches. The U8 program is a new initiative to set up training for young players with our academy coaches. We continue to have Regional Development Schools that serve as ID camps. The RDSs are located all over the Bay Area so that we can identify the best young talent in the region.

We are currently pushing for a youth complex in San Jose. Finding the right location is our goal right now, and we believe the land will be identified this year. Ownership has committed to building the complex.

The investments in youth development are paying off as we signed three homegrown players in the offseason: JT Marcinkowski, Jacob Akanyirige and Gilbert Fuentes. JT was part of the U.S. U20 World Cup squad, while Gilbert is a regular for the U.S. U17s and Jacob has received a callup for the U.S. U18s. The duo are two of the four youngest players currently in MLS.

We have also invested significantly in staffing in the youth area, adding three full time coaches and two administrative staffers, along with retaining technical director Chris Leitch to oversee the youth area.

3 - Have you upgraded your stadium in the past year, or are you building--or in the process of upgrading--your stadium? What is the cost?

We are finishing upgrades now. The total cost is $4 million. We have added two more suites that feature the most unique seating in Major League Soccer. We will have eight seats in each of the suites adjacent to the team benches. The construction of these suites has also created a player tunnel for the walkout. Additionally, we are finishing construction on the Sky Lounge, a corner club that features elevator access and a bar/lounge behind two sections that is exclusively for the ticket holders in those sections. There are about 200 seats that get access to the Sky Lounge.

The Sky Lounge features a bar, lounge seating, great views of downtown San Jose and a VIP entrance. This space will be used for events on non-game days as well. The final change will be to our supporter’s terrace. The San Jose Ultras and the front office worked together in the offseason to have the SJ Ultras move to the lower standing terrace at Avaya Stadium. We are going to install a temporary, steeper standing area for the SJ Ultras for 2018, with an eye toward more changes in the future. The goal is to increase the connection between the SJ Ultras and the rest of the fans and players.

The other big upgrades were in technology, as we installed Second Spectrum cameras throughout the stadium. We used them for half the season last year and it is a big part of our collaboration with the DFB.

Additionally, we have gone to a digital ticketing system and have upgraded our stadium app to make the digital ticket experience smoother.

4 - Where does your first team train? Have you upgraded, or are you building or improving, your first-team training facility? What is the cost?

The training field is right next to stadium. We built it in 2010 and we laid a new surface last year. We use our stadium locker room and weight room as the facility. The weight room features a garage door that opens up to a mini-field that we renovated prior to this year. Our coaches will use that space for walk-throughs and goalkeeper training, as well as a workout space. The home locker room features a meal room, and we give the players breakfast and lunch every day. We have the gym available for players at all times. We have training field, stadium and team offices all at the same location. This is the best possible set-up.

5 - Do you have a USL and/or NWSL team? If so, what are the operating and salary budgets for that team(s)?

We have a very good affiliation with Reno 1868 FC, the team that broke the USL goal scoring record last season and featured league MVP and Golden Boot winner Dane Kelly, USL Rookie of the Year and assist champion Chris Wehan and Best XI second team defender Jimmy Ockford. The Earthquakes fully fund the technical side of the organization, player salaries, coaches, etc. We spend $750,000-$1 million on this partnership. The Quakes signed three players from the 2017 Reno 1868 roster: Chris Wehan, Jimmy Ockford and Luis Felipe.

6 - How many front office employees does your club have? How many have you added or subtracted over the past year?

90-95 employees. We have added about five since last year to the business side, mostly in digital/video and we have added 4-5 new positions to the soccer operations area, including head scout, director of methodology, additional strength/fitness coaches and athletic trainers.

The head scout, Bruno Costa, spent time at the CBF as a scout. Our director of methodology, Alex Covelo, went through the Barcelona youth system alongside Xavi and has coached/served as a methodology director in numerous places around Spain.

We have also added three full-time academy coaches and two staffers to our academy administration to run the increased programs we have started.

We hired an assistant coach, Alex de Crook, from Holland and a goalkeeper coach from Aspire Academy, Jyri Nieminen, while retaining Steve Ralston as an assistant coach. Those moves along, with hiring Mikael Stahre as head coach, show our ambition to look at all options to find the best possible people for our soccer operations.

7 - Please provide your starting XIs for your first two U.S. Open Cup or Canadian Championship games of 2017 (or just the first, if you lost your USOC opener).

Game 1 (2-0 vs. San Francisco Deltas)

GK Andrew Tarbell; Ds Andres Imperiale, Florian Jungwirth, Victor Bernárdez, Nick Lima; MFs Jackson Yueill, Simon Dawkins, Tommy Thompson, Cordell Cato; Fs Danny Hoesen, Chris Wondolowski.

Game 2 (2-1 vs. Seattle Sounders)

GK Andrew Tarbell; Ds Nick Lima, Andres Imperiale, Kofi Sarkodie; MFs Anibal Godoy, Shea Salinas, Jackson Yueill, Jahmir Hyka, Kip Colvey; Fs Tommy Thompson, Chris Wondolowski.

8 - This question is for clubs that participated in the Concacaf Champions League at least once in the past five seasons: Did your club do anything special or extra to prepare for CCL competition, such as training or playing friendlies abroad, sending scouts abroad or scheduling different preseason opponents? What was the cost associated with the preparation?

2014 CONCACAF Champions League—We flew early to Mexico and trained in Cuernavaca in preparation for our road match against Toluca. That location was about half the elevation of Toluca, then we traveled to Toluca the day before the match. The approach nearly worked as we tied Toluca 1-1 and lost a shootout on the road.


SEATTLE SOUNDERS

1 - How much money has your club spent across the past three years on Designated Players (transfer fees + salaries)? How much are you spending in 2018?

Led by reigning MLS Comeback Player of the Year Clint Dempsey, 2016 MLS Newcomer of the Year Nicolás Lodeiro and five-time team MVP Osvaldo Alonso, Seattle has long been a destination for prominent Designated Players. Since 2009, Seattle has been home to 12 Designated Players in MLS.

2 - How much has your club spent across the past three years on youth development? How many fully-funded (free) youth teams do you field?

Sounders FC has more than doubled its financial investment in player development since 2016, with the signing of five homegrown players in that span. U.S. national team players Jordan Morris and DeAndre Yedlin are a product of the club’s youth system, in addition to eight other homegrown players that have been signed since 2012. Currently, the club’s U19, U17 and U15 sides all play in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, with those teams being fully funded by Sounders FC. In recent years, the Sounders FC Academy has added discovery program teams at the U14, U13 and U12 levels.

3 - Have you upgraded your stadium in the past year, or are you building--or in the process of upgrading--your stadium? What is the cost?

Sounders FC plays at CenturyLink Field, one of the world’s premier sporting venues. It is home to both Seattle’s MLS club and the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. The venue also hosts a number of world-class annual events and concerts. At the time of writing, Sounders FC has an active MLS sellout streak of 166 consecutive matches in regular season and postseason play. In 2017, 827,317 fans watched Sounders FC matches at CenturyLink Field (including the 2017 MLS Cup playoffs).

4 - Where does your first team train? Have you upgraded, or are you building or improving, your first-team training facility? What is the cost?

Sounders FC trains at its Starfire Sports training complex in Tukwila, Washington. The facility predates the club’s MLS launch, and the team has trained there since joining the league. Plans are currently being developed for expansion at the facility to accommodate the club’s growth over the past several seasons, encompassing the launch of its USL side and development in the academy ranks.

5 - Do you have a USL and/or NWSL team? If so, what are the operating and salary budgets for that team(s)?

Yes, Sounders FC 2 is the club’s USL side, which is launching anew in 2018 in Tacoma, Washington. Sounders FC and the Tacoma Rainiers previously announced that beginning in 2018, S2’s transition to Tacoma is accelerating, allowing the USL squad to play its home matches at Cheney Stadium while progress continues toward a new soccer-specific facility. The two clubs previously reached a historic agreement to build a 5,000-seat facility in Central Tacoma on the footprint of Cheney Stadium.

Originally announced in May 2017, the partnership brings together two of the Northwest's premier professional sports organizations to reach a first-of-its-kind relationship in USL within the same regional market. The Tacoma Rainiers are an award-winning franchise that has been a staple of the South Puget Sound community for over 50 years, operating as the top affiliate of Major League Baseball's Seattle Mariners. The Rainiers are operating the business side of the new era of the USL club, taking advantage of decades of experience operating a professional organization in the Tacoma market, while Sounders FC is set to maintain leadership over soccer operations and sporting infrastructure.

6 - How many front office employees does your club have? How many have you added or subtracted over the past year?

Between the club’s Pioneer Square front office and its Starfire Sports technical staff, Sounders FC has over 100 full-time employees. Since moving business operations across Lake Washington from the Seahawks in April of 2014, the club has roughly doubled its headcount.

7 - Please provide your starting XIs for your first two U.S. Open Cup or Canadian Championship games of 2017 (or just the first, if you lost your USOC opener).

Game 1 (2-1 vs. Portland Timbers)

GK Tyler Miller; D Nouhou Tolo, Samuel Rogers, Rodrigue Ele, Jordy Delem; MFs Irvin Parra, Zach Mathers, Aaron Kovar, Francisco Narbón, Ray Saari; F Felix Chenkam.

Game 2 (1-2 at San Jose Earthquakes)

GK Tyler Miller; Ds Nouhou Tolo, Tony Alfaro, Samuel Rogers, Henry Wingo; MFs Joevin Jones, Ray Saari, Francisco Narbón, Aaron Kovar; Fs Irvin Parra, Harry Shipp.

8 - This question is for clubs that participated in the Concacaf Champions League at least once in the past five seasons: Did your club do anything special or extra to prepare for CCL competition, such as training or playing friendlies abroad, sending scouts abroad or scheduling different preseason opponents? What was the cost associated with the preparation?

In addition to the club’s traditional preseason camps in Southern California and Arizona, Sounders FC played two additional friendlies on the road against USL sides Sacramento Republic and Reno 1868 in February 2018, in an effort to field split-squad sides in competitive environments. This was done to balance two groups of players to begin the 2018 campaign—one for Concacaf Champions League play, and the other to open the MLS season.

Moreover, TAM was used to reinforce the core of the team that won the 2017 MLS Western Conference title, led by Norwegian playmaker Magnus Wolff Eikrem and South Korean central defender Kim Kee-hee. The club also brought in Costa Rican fullback Waylon Francis, who represented his national team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and has significant experience throughout Concacaf.


SPORTING KANSAS CITY

1 - How much money has your club spent across the past three years on Designated Players (transfer fees + salaries)? How much are you spending in 2018?

Year-over-year increases led to most ever spent on DPs in 2018. Using TAM/GAM to buy down players with salaries over DP threshold. Emphasis on signing players from major European leagues (Belgium, Spain, England).

2 - How much has your club spent across the past three years on youth development? How many fully-funded (free) youth teams do you field?

Significant increase in investment on youth development in past three years with establishment of USL team. Futsal courts in every district of Kansas City, KS. New $20 million Wyandotte Sporting Fields youth complex to complement $20 million Swope Soccer Village. All six Academy teams (U12, U13, U14, U15, U17, U19) fully funded. Robust network of Academy affiliates throughout the Midwest region. Established Centers of Excellence for younger ages. Major additions to technical staff highlighted by hiring of Michel Ribeiro and support staff (nutritionist, director of player care and support, etc.).

3 - Have you upgraded your stadium in the past year, or are you building--or in the process of upgrading--your stadium? What is the cost?

New LED ribbon boards. Renovated space for supporters group (Budweiser Brew House). New premium amenities (Audi Sport Club, Coca-Cola Champions Deck, Till Vodka Patio, etc.). New community engagement platform for Sporting Local Legends. Upgrades are a major reason why Stadium Journey rated CMP the No. 1 soccer-specific stadium in the United States in 2017.

Spend $1 million-plus annually on stadium upgrades.

4 - Where does your first team train? Have you upgraded, or are you building or improving, your first-team training facility? What is the cost?

Brand new $75 million, state-of-the-art training facility featuring all the latest technology in sports medicine and sports performance. Less than a mile from stadium, 81,000-sq.-ft. site (50-plus acres) with a pitch, gym, pool, etc.

5 - Do you have a USL and/or NWSL team? If so, what are the operating and salary budgets for that team(s)?

USL team has reached league final in each of first two seasons. Reflection of investment in player salaries and technical staff. SKC has signed six Swope Park Rangers players (Tyler Pasher, Kevin Oliveira, Amer Didic, Adrian Zendejas, Kharlton Belmar, James Musa). Five others (Ualefi, Kris Tyrpak, Nansel Selbol, Tomas Granitto, Alex Molano) appeared in CCL.

6 - How many front office employees does your club have? How many have you added or subtracted over the past year?

170 full-time associates, including 34 on the technical staff.

Entire marketing campaign, TV broadcasts, PR and digital all in-house. Stadium parking and concessions now in-house. Operate numerous sports and entertainment facilities (Children's Mercy Park, Pinnacle, Swope Soccer Village, Wyandotte Sporting Fields, Three Points, No Other Pub, front office, futsal courts).

7 - Please provide your starting XIs for your first two U.S. Open Cup or Canadian Championship games of 2017 (or just the first, if you lost your USOC opener).

Game 1 (4-0 vs. Minnesota United)

GK Tim Melia; Ds Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Ike Opara, Graham Zusi; MFs Jimmy Medranda, Ilie Sánchez, Roger Espinoza; Fs Daniel Salloi, Dom Dwyer, Gerso Fernandes.

Game 2 (2-0 at Houston Dynamo)

GK Tim Melia; Ds Seth Sinovic, Kevin Ellis, Ike Opara, Saad Abdul-Salaam; MFs Jimmy Medranda, Ilie Sánchez, Roger Espinoza; Latif Blessing, Cameron Porter, Gerso Fernandes.

Won our fourth U.S. Open Cup title in 2017.

8 - This question is for clubs that participated in the Concacaf Champions League at least once in the past five seasons: Did your club do anything special or extra to prepare for CCL competition, such as training or playing friendlies abroad, sending scouts abroad or scheduling different preseason opponents? What was the cost associated with the preparation?

Going back five years to the 2013-14 edition of CCL, no MLS team has qualified for CCL as often as Sporting KC (four times). SKC's best showing was a quarterfinal loss to eventual champions Cruz Azul in 2014 (1-0 win in home leg).

Chartered flights, bolstering roster, international scouting.


VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

1 - How much money has your club spent across the past three years on Designated Players (transfer fees + salaries)? How much are you spending in 2018?

Since 2015, we have spent approximately $12 million on DP salaries and transfer fees. Our ambition is be the most efficient and best managed club in MLS. In 2018, we have varied our strategy between DPs and TAM, as well as using discretionary TAM, to fit in a larger number of players above the threshold.

Our DP tags have been assigned to Kendall Waston—who just signed a new contract—and Brek Shea. Our TAM players are Anthony Blondell—the leading scorer from the Venezuelan league, who was brought in on a seven figure transfer fee—as well as Aly Ghazal, Efrain Juárez, Kei Kamara, Yordy Reyna, and Cristian Techera.

2 - How much has your club spent across the past three years on youth development? How many fully-funded (free) youth teams do you field?

Our full-time programs are a multi-million dollar annual commitment for boys and girls, forming the most extensive network of youth programs in North America. All of our Residency and Girls Elite teams in Vancouver are fully-funded (and have been since 2007), including U14, U15, U17, and U19 boys Residency teams.

Our girls program is in partnership with BC Soccer and Canada Soccer. Two teenagers, 16-year-old Jordyn Huitema and 17-year-old Julia Grosso, have been regularly playing with the senior women’s national team recently, including at the 2018 Algarve Cup in March. On the men’s side, we had three homegrown players on Canada’s 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup roster, including 17-year-old Alphonso Davies (who won the Golden Boot).

Outside Vancouver, we hire and place professionally licensed head coaches—often UEFA A or B—to run academy center programs, which are located in more than 22 regions across Canada. We have programs in eight of ten provinces, as well as the Yukon.

3 - Have you upgraded your stadium in the past year, or are you building--or in the process of upgrading--your stadium? What is the cost?

BC Place is owned and operated by BC Pavilion Corporation, a crown corporation of the province of British Columbia. BC Place is widely recognized as “Canada’s Home Stadium” and regularly listed among the top stadium venues in the world, having hosted the final of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the Canada Sevens tournaments since 2016, and as home of Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

This year, BC Place has invested in upgrades to field-of-play lighting, audio enhancements for the new season, as well as reimagining the food and beverage program to complement a world-class guest experience program. Whitecaps FC have also invested heavily in adding to our stadium experience for 2018, which was on display for our sold-out lower bowl, home-opener crowd of 27,837.

4 - Where does your first team train? Have you upgraded, or are you building or improving, your first-team training facility? What is the cost?

In June 2017, we opened a brand new $32.5 million training facility—the National Soccer Development Centre—which is now among the best facilities in the league. The facility includes a 38,000-sq.-ft., state-of-the-art fieldhouse, with a beautiful new grass pitch at the back, and five total fields (three grass and two artificial turf).

The facility houses our MLS team and all of our Residency teams, who go to school together across the street as part of a custom program at University Hill Secondary School. Approximately 200 players, coaches, and staff call the NSDC home.

5 - Do you have a USL and/or NWSL team? If so, what are the operating and salary budgets for that team(s)?

We are excited to enter the first year of our new USL affiliation with Fresno FC this season, led by former MLS and Canadian men’s national team head coach and current FFC GM Frank Yallop. Our club pays the salaries of our assigned USL players on the roster.

We do not currently have an NWSL team, but it is something that we’re constantly monitoring.

6 - How many front office employees does your club have? How many have you added or subtracted over the past year?

We have 135 full-time staff and 211 part-time, game-specific, or program-specific staff.

Approximately 72 staff are based at our front office in downtown Vancouver, including administration, events, marketing, partnerships, sales/service, and soccer development staff.

Roughly 46 staff are based at our NSDC training facility, including soccer operations, first team technical staff, Residency, and communications staff. Our girls program is based at the Fortius Sport & Health facility in Burnaby, BC, while our remaining soccer development staff work at various locations with our academy centers, camps, and clinics.

7 - Please provide your starting XIs for your first two U.S. Open Cup or Canadian Championship games of 2017 (or just the first, if you lost your USOC opener).

Game 1 (2-1 vs. Montreal Impact)

GK Spencer Richey; Ds Marcel de Jong, Sem de Wit, Cole Seiler; MFs Alphonso Davies, Russell Teibert, Ben McKendry, Jakob Nerwinski; Fs Nicolás Mezquida, Mauro Rosales, Brek Shea.

Game 2 (2-4 at Montreal Impact)

GK Spencer Richey; Ds Marcel de Jong, Tim Parker, Cole Seiler, Jake Nerwinski; MF Ben McKendry, Russell Teibert, Brek Shea, Nicolás Mezquida, Mauro Rosales; F Kyle Greig.

8 - This question is for clubs that participated in the Concacaf Champions League at least once in the past five seasons: Did your club do anything special or extra to prepare for CCL competition, such as training or playing friendlies abroad, sending scouts abroad or scheduling different preseason opponents? What was the cost associated with the preparation?

The team took a charter flight to Monterrey for the first leg of the Champions League semifinals against Tigres in 2017. Prior to the start of the season, we traveled to Wales for 10 days to face teams in midseason form, in preparation for our early start in CCL.

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