Kim Roentved is so closely associated with indoor soccer teams in Wichita and Kansas City that true favoritism is impossible.
“It’s both places,” Roentved said of his emotional attachments. “I played and coached more years down here than I did in Kansas City, but I live in Kansas City and I built a very, very good team up there that won the MISL championship last year.”
Roentved’s heart may be split, but the rest of his soccer life is firmly in Wichita, as he was named the B-52s director of soccer operations late last month and has jumped into his role as part coach, part recruiter, part director of goodwill for a franchise looking to build familiarity.
He joined the B-52s before their second season, first in the Major Arena Soccer League, which includes the Comets. Wichita plays its home opener Saturday night at Hartman Arena against Tulsa.
“People that know me, when I get close to a practice field, I can’t keep my mouth shut,” Roentved said. “I have to get involved. So that’s one thing, I’m helping out the coaching staff and communicating with the players as best I can. I’m helping out the front office with ideas and contacting people.”
The 64-year-old Roentved, a native of Denmark, played for the Wichita Wings from 1980-87 and was a player-coach from 1991-98, first as an assistant, then as coach for his final four seasons.
He played five seasons of indoor soccer for Kansas City, coached three more, and built the roster of last year’s Major Indoor Soccer League champion before stepping down as coach. This past offseason, ties with the Comets were severed completely.
“We just couldn’t come to terms,” Roentved said.
The rekindling of Roentved’s working relationship with Wichita soccer is traced to February, when the B-52s honored Roentved after his induction into the Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame.
Roentved’s contact with B-52s owner and president Joey Pindell and coach Jeff Kraft increased from there, and in October the three carved out Roentved’s role and got him back as arguably the face of soccer in Wichita.
“I sat down with Joey Pindell and I kind of liked the ideas,” Roentved said. “Not jumping into it too quick, but hopefully this would be a long-term deal and I liked the game plan, so to speak. I get to catch up with a bunch of old friends down here that I haven’t seen, and I also get to take (former Wings coach) Roy Turner for a couple bucks on the golf course.”
Tulsa at B-52s
When: 7:05 p.m. Saturday
Where: Hartman Arena, Park City
Records: Tulsa 0-0, Wichita 0-1