Image from Sporting KC

September 9, 2023

By Fred Liggett

A number of local NCAA Division I athletes will soon benefit from a new program launched by Sporting Kansas City. The program is the club’s Sporting U NIL Program featuring Name, Image and Likeness agreements with five local student athletes in the Class of 2023.

Two of the five athletes attend the University of Missouri, two others attend University of Kansas and one is at Kansas State University. One of the five is a Lee’s Summit West graduate, Hallie Klanke, now playing women’s soccer at Kansas. Klanke, a 5’5″ senior forward, is a sports management major who started her collegiate career at North Carolina.

The Sporting U NIL initiative is designed to provide a platform for Sporting KC to celebrate homegrown athletes on college campuses across the Midwest region. The five athletes receive a financial stipend for social media engagement as well as tickets for Sporting KC home matches. Aaron Burns, Sporting KC vice president of marketing said, “Sporting KC is excited to offer student-athletes from multiple sports the opportunity to grow their brand and to support their pursuit of professional careers both on and off the field.”

Having a former LS West Titan standout be a part of this new program has impacted current members of the girls soccer program. Sophomore midfielder Layla Gasimalla says of the program “exciting, an opportunity people don’t get normally.” Having a former LSW player be chosen in the inaugural year has Layla feeling “lots of hope, really helps knowing is an option for you.”

Whether it’s at a team practice, a billboard in town or on your favorite social media site a fan may see a familiar face to soccer fans at Lee’s Summit West.