On Wednesday, Newcastle visit Sporting KC in the first game of our US tour. The MLS club have played in the league since its formation in 1993. Formerly known as Kansas City Wizards, Sporting re-branded in November 2010 when moving into their new 18,500 seater purpose-built stadium Livestrong Sporting Park.
Last year Sporting beat Manchester United 2 v 1 in a friendly at Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs, so they will provide some solid opposition.
For any NFL fans out there - Chad Ochocinco is an honourary member of the Sporting KC squad!
Ahead of Wednesday's clash, Sporting forward CJ Sapong shared his thoughts on the game, the MLS and more:
The 22-year-old forward hails from Virginia and took the squad number 17 when he was drafted in the 2011 MLS Superdraft in March 2011. Within weeks CJ made his first team debut and scored within two minutes.
CJ is very highly rated as a rookie in the MLS and he was good enough to agree to an interview late last week:
Are you a fan of Premier League football?
YES! I am a huge fan! The Premiership is what strengthened my love for soccer when I was a young boy. Ironically, I remember being very young and watching Alan Shearer showcase his dominance to the world as a member of NUFC. I remember admiring his sheer finishing ability and trying to emulate that when i started playing.
What do you know about Newcastle United?
I know that NUFC has a lot of history and are among the most cherished clubs of the top flight. I was very excited when they won the championship to get promoted back to the EPL after being relegated two seasons ago.
How seriously will you guys be taking this game?
The game will be taken very seriously by us. The team got an amazing win over MUFC last year and will be looking to reiterate why we came up victorious.
Which Sporting KC players should we be looking out for?
All of us! We are very excited and our honoured to host NUFC and all will be ready to showcase the best of our abilities!
How big can soccer in the US and the MLS become?
It can become immeasurable. The league is still young and is growing exponentially every season. Thanks to tours like these by NUFC and other European clubs the league is sure to continue on an upward slope.
You were born in America but you are obviously proud of your African heritage ā will the USA or Africa ever produce a World Cup winning football team?
I believe so very soon. We can use the last world cup and the success of my two countries-USA and Ghana, and see that they are capable of competing with the best teams in the world
Where are your roots in Africa and given the choice, would you rather represent them or the USA at International level?
My roots are in Ghana. I was raised in a Ghanaian household and am very proud of my heritage. I was, however, born in the United States and would love nothing more to be able to represent my country at the International level. USA is first choice.
How far can you go in the game?
I believe I can go as far as the game allows! with the right mentality and proper care of my body I can take my game to the highest of heights and plan on doing so.
Where will you be playing your football 5 years from now?
In five years I hope to be playing in a top flight league somewhere in Europe and representing my nation on a consistent basis. Oh and scoring a lot of goals!
And finally ā what will the score be when Sporting KC come up against NUFC?
Iām calling a 2-1 win by Sporting KC!
CJ is definitely a one to watch - this will be a very good game.
If you are going along to Livestrong Sporting Park, enjoy!
You can follow CJ on Twitter @BigAfrika88
You can also follow me on Twitter @MarcSDuffy if you want some football chat!
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