Name: Jackson Specker

Soccer Questions

When did you become interested in soccer: I was not raised in a family that liked soccer at all, in fact, my first exposure to soccer was through my best friend when his family would bring me to games with them. Then I didn’t start playing myself until I was in college my sophomore year when I started playing pickup with one of my friends. I then didn’t play in an organized league until my junior year and slowly fell in love with the game.

What position do you prefer to play: I play goalkeeper, easy way for me to pickup the game growing up playing sports that only really involved hand eye coordination. You can very rarely find me playing in the field in a pick up game when people are drinking so I don’t look as bad as I am with my feet.

Favorite thing to do on the field: Stop a PK, obviously allowing a penalty is tough on your team and being able to stop a PK really brings the mood up, and isn’t easy either!

Who is your MLS rooting interest: Sporting KC

When/why do you root for them: As I mentioned before, my friend would bring me to games growing up so I was able to see them as the Wizards play at both Arrowhead and Community America. However, I didn’t really start watching until their 2013 MLS Cup run, and since then I have been keeping up with this team for better or for worse. Why? Well they are my hometown team. 

Any teams you dislike in MLS and Why: 2023 I finally have a natural rival, that being STL SC. I’m hoping the feud between SKC and STL SC can pick up as there is a general animosity that exists between these two cross state cities. From watching MLS over the years, I really dislike NYCFC and the fact that they still play in a baseball stadium, to me it makes the entire league look bad and less appealing for attracting talent. 

Who is your EPL rooting interest: Chelsea 

When/why do you root for them: So truth be told I don’t watch a ton of EPL, and don’t really intend to. However, a year or two ago I decided I should at least have a rooting interest. I gave my credit card to my friend who is a fan of soccer similar to myself (loves his domestic league, but is Mexican) and let him buy me any jersey for an EPL team, except Tottenham because I’ve lost too much money betting on them. And one week later I had a Chelsea jersey at my house. 

Any teams you dislike in EPL and Why: Like I mentioned before I really dislike Tottenham just because I have bet on them a few times when they were playing some lower table teams and lost every bet I’ve placed on them. Other than that there are no teams that I dislike.

Any other Club Soccer rooting interest: I am a huge fan of Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga.

When/why do you root for them: When I started getting into European soccer I decided that I wanted to combine soccer with my desire to learn a new language. I had taken a few German classes while I was in high school so I decided to pick that up again and watch some German football. Anyways, I started rooting for Werdeer Bremen in the spring of 2014 and landed on them because I wanted a historic club (also that wasn’t explicitly pro Nazis) that had top tier success. When I started rooting for Bremen they were closer to the bottom of the table than the top, which is part of the fun for me growing up in Kansas City watching sports teams slowly become successful again. Since then I have enjoyed rooting for them even though they have had their struggles.

Any other Club Teams you dislike and Why: I don’t find myself disliking any team. 

Favorite All Time Player: Pele, watching his highlights he simply the best player on the field and of his time. Currently, I love watching Alphonso Davies play.  

Random Questions

Any other sports you play or follow: I play a bunch of golf, usually 3-4 rounds a week, and in winter I play in a basketball league. I also follow baseball pretty closely and love going to games.

What teams do you support in those sports: I support the Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Bucks, and Northern Iowa Panthers (I probably watch more college basketball than NBA). Golf you don’t really have a single person you support but I do enjoy watching Shane Lowry a lot.

What do you do to support yourself: I work in Tech Consulting as a Senior Analyst at Accenture. 

Where did you go to college: I have my undergrad in philosophy from Missouri State University, and a Masters in Communication from the University of Northern Iowa.

Where did you grow up: I grew up in Kansas City, a small suburb up north called Kearney

Anything else the listeners should know about you: I have a passion for competitive debate as I debated in high school and college. Then I was an assistant coach at Northern Iowa during my time there. I still miss being able to compete but that’s why I play soccer a few nights a week, to still have meaningful competition!


Name: Mike Shorman

Soccer Questions

When did you become interested in soccer:

I played youth soccer like most kids in America and luckily soccer started at my high school a few years before my arrival. Our youth teams always had close bonds, piling the team in our family RV for road games and tournaments (literally the RV from breaking bad). I was a huge World Cup fan admiring the star players from different countries and playing them past my bedtime in FIFA video games.

What position do you prefer to play:

Speed is my asset so I like to use it in wide positions. I’m a reliable finisher and passer so my teammates also like me up front.

Favorite thing to do on the field:

Celebrating with teammates, scoring a goal, making an assist, hitting a perfect pass. All of these at the same time.

Who is your MLS rooting interest:

Sporting Kansas City.

When/why do you root for them:

Funny, I’ve been asking myself the same question ( : I support them because they are local, have a cool stadium, and have history with MLS (they are an original team)

Any teams you dislike in MLS and Why:

I dislike FC Dallas as they are always time-wasting in Children’s Mercy. Thankfully refs have cracked down on it but it used to be horrible.

Who is your EPL rooting interest:

Newcastle.

When/why do you root for them:

Newcastle Brown Ale was our fraternity family beer in college.

Any teams you dislike in EPL and Why:

I dislike Chelsea (suck it Jackson). Also lol Chelsea. 

Any other Club Soccer rooting interest:

Real Madrid and Barcelona. Love watching these teams play because of their rich histories. I’ve been to both stadiums. Always try to watch clásicos if I can without a vested interest.

Favorite All Time Player:

Lionel Messi

Random Questions

Any other sports you play or follow:

I love to ski. I’ve been a Chiefs fan since I was a kid so I watch their games.

What teams do you support in those sports:

Team USA. Winter Olympics, Milano Cortina 2026 baby!

What do you do to support yourself:

I have a job I love at an incredibly smart law firm supporting lawyers with technology.

Where did you go to college:

University of Kansas

Where did you grow up:

Hays, Kansas

Anything else the listeners should know about you: 

My passion is building the soccer community in KC. A few years ago, I started a soccer club called Pickup Soccer Kansas City (PUSKC). The club rents out fields, buys equipment, does laundry and we have an app to make attending pickup soccer games in Kansas City easy. I love seeing the teams and friendships made from the pickup events we’ve hosted (over 300 now!) I also love seeing new players develop their game. There is something satisfying about learning a skill like soccer. Big shout out to our field partners, event organizers (Eddie GOAT), and players for making the club so special. If I can get you involved with the group, please let me know. The aforementioned website is also a good place to start.


Name: Christian Kirby

Soccer Questions

When did you become interested in soccer: My parents got me into club soccer in 2nd grade with some other family friends. My brothers also played club soccer and we had a pretty good school team that played in leawood.

What position do you prefer to play: I have moved all over the field in my career. Growing up I often played in a higher age division, so I played right mid and right back when I had some speed, then I moved into a center back and holding midfield role. I’m great at slowing down the other teams attack so I think a defensive mid is my best position.

Favorite thing to do on the field: Winning headers and slowing down the other teams attack. Also communicating is my strength. Put all those attributes together hopefully I find a place on the field.

Who is your MLS rooting interest: SKC because I went through the academy and know some players who have made it to the first team. Outside of Kansas City I like LAFC. Their culture and final product on the field is something I’m rooting for. LAFC’s Steve Cherundolo is an exceptional player and coach, and hopefully he becomes involved with United States Soccer here soon.

When/why do you root for them: Home team and the best team in mls! It would be awesome if they won concacaf champions league and mls cup in the same year! Maybe even leagues cup. They also became a billion dollar club last year so it’s pretty awesome seeing them being mls premier club.

Any teams you dislike in MLS and Why: Real Salt Lake. Those late playoff games 2013-2018 ish we developed a nice rivalry.

Who is your EPL rooting interest: Manchester United.

When/why do you root for them: Around 2003-2005 to 2013-2015. They were the top club and I loved their center backs and how they played. Cristiano Ronaldo is also a nice bonus.

Any teams you dislike in EPL and Why: Arsenal. I just hate their fans that I know in the states. I also didn’t think they were good growing up 

Any other Club Soccer rooting interest: Real Madrid and Barca. Also love how Erling Haaland plays. I’m a fan of top players like Haaland, Ronaldo and you gotta respect what Messi has done for football.

When/why do you root for them: I followed Ronaldo over to Madrid and Zidane is probably my favorite player and coach of all time. If the United States could get ahold of his people that would be fantastic 

Any other Club Teams you dislike and Why: None

Favorite All Time Player: Zidane and Ronaldo might be tied for me. Haaland and Rio Ferdinand.

Random Questions

Any other sports you play or follow: I was actually more into basketball growing up than I was soccer. Played some high level basketball from 6-8 grade. At one point I wanted to focus on basketball and was probably better at it.

What teams do you support in those sports: Duke basketball, but I transitioned to KU.

What do you do to support yourself: Airbnb host, got an E Commerce Business and have started selling solar.

Where did you go to college: Link Year Prep and Arizona Christian University

Where did you grow up: Born Lenexa Kansas. Grew up in Leawood 

Anything else the listeners should know about you: I love group fitness and my gym. Really enjoy the progression of Kansas City and can’t wait for the World Cup in 2026!