Sporting Kansas City II have been busy. Not just on the field, winning two straight games by a combined score of 6-1, but off the field too. In the last couple of weeks, the team has added five new players to their roster who deserve some attention.
Two Honduran Forwards
The first signings came back on April 3rd, when the team announced the signings of two 19-year-old forwards, Keny Martinez and Alenis Vargas, on loan from the Costa Rican club Futbol Consultants Desamparados. They are a second division club in Costa Rica that was founded in 2017.
Martinez is listed by Transfermarkt as a center forward with the ability to play as a second striker or right-winger. He’s right footed and TM reports there is an option to buy in his loan agreement. Martinez has been a pro for three years and came through the Academia Internacional de Fútbol Leones, an academy in San Pedro Sula. He’s also trained with the Honduras U-20s.
Little is known about Vargas. The team says he’s “a versatile winger, is another emerging talent from the Honduran ranks who has multiple years of professional competition under his belt.”
Both players will join the club after going through the immigration process.
A Brazilian Attacking Midfielder
The next signing goes in a bit of a different direction. The team went for a ‘veteran’ (by MLS Next Pro standards) in adding 24-year-old attacking midfielder Vitor Dias. Born and raised in Brazil, Dias came through the academy at Sao Paulo FC before moving to the United States to attend college. He went to Marshall University for three seasons and went pro last year. He spent his rookie professional season with cross-state rivals St. Louis City SC 2 where he was a part of a team that went all the way to the title game (before ultimately losing to the Columbus Crew SC 2).
While in college, he was a member of the 2020 national title winning team. That same season he was a MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist and added six goals and seven assists. Overall, he tallied 14 goals and 15 assists in his collegiate career.
[Apologies to Vitor, I believe I called him a defensive midfielder and may have mispronounced his name on this week’s podcast. Eek!]
Two Academy Contracts
The last two signings are SKC Academy players, Carlito Saylon and Jacob Bartlett, and will join on amateur contracts to maintain their college eligibility. They are signed on “single-game” deals and were first added ahead of the trip to face the Real Monarchs (who SKC II beat 4-0 in Utah).
If their names sound familiar, it’s because they’ve been with Sporting KC II (and even SKC) before. They both spent portions of the 2023 preseason with the first team, with Bartlett appearing the game against the Portland Timbers. Saylon also appeared in three Sporting KC II games in the 2022 season, going 1-1-1 including a penalty shootout win against St. Louis.
Saylon, is a 16-year-old goalkeeper who sat the bench in Salt Lake City this past weekend. He is from Michigan and joined the SKC Academy in 2020. He joins Kayden Pierre and Jake Davis as other “Homegrown” players who the club found in the state of Michigan.
Bartlett is a 6’1″ defender who joined Saylon on the bench for that game in Salt Lake. Being over six-foot tall feels like a rarity for a field player in the SKC Academy, so that’s something to watch. Barlett is a native of Kansas City, Missouri.
These signings bring the team up to 21 professional players and five who have signed (for at least a game) on an academy contract. That obviously doesn’t include any first team loans, of which we’ve seen six players make appearances in 2023 (Jake Davis, Cam Duke, Kendall McIntosh, Chris Rindov, Ozzie Cisneros and Danny Flores).
SKC II are back in action this Sunday
exclusively on MLS Season Pass at 6:00 PM central time to take on FC Cincinnati 2. [Update: It doesn’t appear this game is streaming on MLS Season Pass. Thanks MLS and Apple, take away our one team that’s winning!]