Indoor Soccer Returns To Wichita
Park City, KS (October 25th, 2019) - During the 2011 reincarnation of the Wichita Wings, it was publicized that current FC Wichita owner Blake Shumaker and Wichita businessman Wink Hartman had agreed to share trademark usage of the Wichita Wings. Shumaker needed to give his rights of the mark to Hartman for the purpose of indoor soccer, and in return Hartman granted Shumaker usage for youth soccer and general community development.
Eight years later, and just in time for the 40th anniversary season, Shumaker and Hartman have once again made an agreement to allow the Wichita Wings to return home. Only this time, Hartman has graciously given Shumaker the trademark and a long-term lease at Hartman Arena. The extended term lease agreement has the team comfortably at home in Park City, Ks.
Shumaker has partnered with a new ownership group and brings along the seven consecutive years of experience with FC Wichita. The new ownership group plans to lean on that experience and the communities passion for the Wings to keep the new model sustainable. One of the community members who is already stepping up big is Family Mitsubishi, a locally owned car dealership who is preparing to announce their purchase of the Mitsubishi brand in Wichita.
“It is very exciting to be in a position to assist this great collection of owners in the return of the Wings,” says Shumaker. “I will be taking on behind the scenes responsibilities to help make sure travel logistics are economical and relationships with corporate partners are flourishing. I won’t be the everyday face of the organization, but I know the public soccer operations is in good hands with this group.”
During the last seven years FC Wichita has been nothing short of amazing. Beginning with a new brand in 2013 they quickly received national recognition on the field. They were the first to use the Wichita flag in commerce. Since then, the city has seen its flag become a household item. The club logo has twice been voted second for best soccer crest in the United States. Most notably the team occupied Stryker soccer complex for years. From that blank canvas FC Wichita eventually inspired a $25M sports complex and became a tenant within sight of the steady economic growth at the K96 & Greenwich corridor.
"We set out to provide a higher level of soccer for Wichita," said Shumaker. "We weren't expecting everyone to step up their game and end up with world class facilities. Wichita is a special place for soccer, we can achieve great things for our community when we all come together."
Shumaker has done everything he promised and now is sharing the FC Wichita resources from around the country, helping to streamline the process for the new Wings owners.
Hummel, a world soccer brand who was previously interested in a partnership with FC Wichita have now shifted gears, making a great pitch to became the official uniform provider of the Wichita Wings, eventually inking a lucrative 3 year agreement with the team in August.
But the most important thing Shumaker is hoping to do is to help the ownership group develop strong relationship with the MASL and its owners. Shumaker is now an executive director of the Arena Soccer Group, which is the contracted management company for the MASL’s 2nd and 3rd divisions. That relationship just might be the key to longevity of professional indoor soccer in Wichita.
Indoor soccer has recently exploded with new viewership. American soccer stars like Landon Donovan and Jermaine Jones are now playing professional arena soccer in the MASL. It is becoming more and more common to see an experienced owner of an arena football team or a professional outdoor team make the investment into indoor soccer.
As that interest grew the need for an indoor soccer pyramid arose. The Major Arena Soccer League is recognized as the top two divisions in the federation, and requires teams play professionally in arenas that meet minimum standards. Teams in or below third division are allowed to operate professionally or semi-professionally in venues with far less standards, such as an indoor soccer complex. Owners in lower divisions will be able to start small and work their way up to an arena, or opt to use a lower division as a farm team of an MASL franchise.
The Wichita Wings currently own the rights to a team in all three divisions but will start their return in M2 this December after playing preseason road games in November against the Dallas Sidekicks and the Kansas City Comets. However, the Wings are eye balling the first division and the new ownership is looking to give those third division rights to a local affiliate. Interested parties should contact the team by email at email@example.com
Meanwhile the staff is preparing to announce their coach and players. Many players have already been signed ahead of the November 23rd tryouts. The team plans to carry a roster of 20 registered players, with 10 more developmental players in daily training. REGISTER FOR TRYOUTS HERE.
The 2019-2020 Wings season schedule will consist of 8 regular season home games beginning on December 28, 2019. Additional games may be added for playoffs and charity.
Sponsors and businesses can find information HERE.