British transplant Keith Stanfield knows a thing or two about soccer.He’s been coaching youth soccer since he was 16, and playing for decades — even playing semi-professionally in the UK and Italy before moving on to concentrate on music studies at the Royal Academy of Music.
And now Stanfield wants to bring a touch of European-style soccer to Prairie Village. Stanfield is recruiting players for a new girls-only club that will follow a practice and playing format typical of European youth leagues.
“I came to find that I’m really in the soccer capital of America, and with the interest in Sporting [KC], I thought there’s an opportunity here to build something that doesn’t exist,” he said. “I’m also thrilled that we’re in a culture where women’s sports are top-notch and respected, because there are parts of the world where they are kind of a joke.”
The Prairie Village Football Club will feature two membership options: squad members and team members. Any player can join the squad, and take part in what Stanfield calls “elite level training” without the time and cost of membership in an elite league. The team will be limited to 12 players, and they will compete against other high-level teams in the Heartland League and in elite tournaments.
Stanfield said the other feature of the club that’s more typical of the way European clubs are organized is the time commitment. Prairie Village Football Club won’t require a long-term commitment or exclusivity. Players will pay on a month-by-month basis.
“In England, you see people come in and out of a club all the time,” he said. “They may find they’re interested in something else for a while, and then come back in. We think that’s great. And it gives people the opportunity to move around in how much time and energy they spend with the club. Someone may not spend much time with a club for a while, and then find that they’re playing a big role.”
Tryouts for the new league will be 9 a.m. at Taliaferro Park, 79th Street and Aberdeen in Prairie Village. For more information or to register, visit the Prairie Village Football Club website.