Tonight in Unpacks: The Current are amid construction of the first purpose-built stadium for women’s pro soccer in the U.S., and the Kansas City-based NWSL club is building it with an eye on sustainability. New team VP/facility development Scott Jenkins tells SBJ’s Bret McCormick what drew him to KC to the team and the project.
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Current's Jenkins eager to help build first women's pro soccer stadium in U.S.
Scott Jenkins described his new role as the Current’s VP/facility development as a “match that was meant to be.” Jenkins spoke to SBJ’s Bret McCormick on Day 2 of his new job overseeing the $125 million riverfront stadium that Kansas City’s NWSL team is building. When it opens next spring, KC Current Stadium -- the club has no naming rights partner yet -- will be the first purpose-built stadium for a professional women’s soccer team in the U.S. -- and maybe the world.
Jenkins’ initial goal will be to ensure the stadium construction project is LEED Gold certified, which fits his background and expertise in sustainable building. “With such a game-changing investment in the Berkley Riverfront and putting together the first stadium purpose-built for a women’s professional team, we needed to find a game-changing-type leader that would be able to really build out our vision of the stadium being a destination spot for sports and entertainment,” Current owner Chris Long said. "Scott has an invaluable amount of experience, being at the forefront of many different top facility management-type jobs, but also he’s a big believer in sustainability. As we pursue LEED Gold, we wanted to have someone that not only knew stadium operations but knew it from the sustainable mindset we wanted.”
Jenkins’ sports facility management career stretches back to the late 1990s and includes stops with the Brewers, Eagles, Mariners and AMB Sports & Entertainment. During the last decade he’s added a focus in sustainability, like with Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which he helped open in 2018. That experience partly inspired him to help co-found Green Sports Alliance. Jenkins' track record led TurnkeyZRG, which handled the search, to contact him and gauge his interest in the Current opening. It was an interesting opportunity for Jenkins, who was living in Atlanta near his kids.
“I love opening new buildings, and I love sustainability, and I think it’s a great opportunity,” Jenkins said from the Current’s training facility. “How do we drive and raise the bar for women’s sports? For me, it was purpose-driven.”
Some of the elements that will contribute to KC Current Stadium's LEED certification effort include the reduction of light pollution, water use (indoors and outdoors) and construction waste; sustainable building materials; renewable energy production, including solar panel arrays; and multi-modal transit planning. The stadium is designed by KC-based Generator Studio and built by J.E. Dunn Construction and Monarch Build.
“It does cost a bit more” to build a LEED Gold certified stadium, Long said. "But capital spent upfront putting in place something that’s additive like this, we will end up with a positive return over time. I think it’s good for the community and the riverfront.”
Beyond LEED certification, Jenkins said the goal is to make the stadium the most sustainably operated venue in the country. “Coming from my perspective and looking at the industry and trying to drive change, getting LEED certification is nice, is great, but sometimes it’s just a plaque on the wall. What’s more important is how do you use it; how do you operate?”
Construction vehicles work on what will become the pitch at KC Current Stadium
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In today’s FOX Sports Insider with Martin Rogers: This World Cup final is a battle of two of the most successful soccer countries … Who are the favorites for the major awards in baseball this season? … and more!
This year's Women's World Cup final isn't one of those championship games where the intrigue is to be found in the contrast. It isn't a favorite against an underdog. It isn't a familiar face against a team that came from nowhere.
It is Spain vs. England. It is a battle of historic, eternal, blue-blooded soccer nations, places where the beautiful game isn't a hobby or a pastime or even a sporting competition, but a way of life.
When these two teams square off on Sunday (coverage begins at 5 a.m. ET with kickoff at 6 a.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app) at Stadium Australia, they will be there for a simple reason. They deserve to be.
There have been other narratives at this tournament, some deliciously compelling. It was hard for neutrals not to root for co-host Australia, so fresh-minded, fearless and with a nation screaming for them, and ultimately, crying with them.
Japan played the most complete soccer you could imagine for four games, then mysteriously took a night off and got sent packing. Sweden tussled and fought its way through but didn't quite have a final push.
The United States was as interesting and hyped as ever, but never truly got going, eventually bounced in a quirky shootout where three of their most dependable heads … temporarily lost theirs.
Utah Utes to win OVER 8.5 games in the 2023-24 season (+105)
From FOX Sports National College Football Analyst: RJ Young
Utah was ranked No. 7 in the 2022 AP preseason poll after winning the Pac-12 title. They finished with the Pac-12 Championship and finished at No. 10 in the same AP poll. Yikes. Then you go into this year, after once again, winning the Pac-12 Championship, they beat mighty USC twice, and they're ranked No. 14 in the preseason AP poll. I'm thinking, if you're Utah, you can’t get no respect. You're gonna have to go out and get it.
They're going to be good in the trenches. They're going to get after people. I think Utah will surprise AP voters this year because they did it the year before, and the year before that. At some point, you're going to have to give Utah their flowers.