When we at the KC Soccer Journal were The Blue Testament, we would often write stories called Blue Links or Blue Notes that rounded up stories you may have missed. Welcome back to Journal Entries (title pending). Let’s get to the news!
Sporting KC to get a Third Kit?
In a move that had been rumored off and on for years, Footy Headlines has leaked that MLS and adidas may be bringing back third kits in 2024. The five teams listed are Inter Miami, Portland Timbers, LA Galaxy, LAFC and Sporting Kansas City. Footy Headlines did say “at least” these five teams. The Seattle Sounders may be getting one in 2025.
One of those teams, is not like the others. But it’s long been held that to get a third kit, teams would have to sell well (rumored to be over 100,000 jerseys). To see no New York teams included, and darlings like Atlanta United left out, is surprising. But Sporting KC are on the list!
St. Louis City SC aren’t, but they did have one of the top selling jerseys of 2023 and the lead up to a jersey is a long one. If you’ve never listened to the Shades of Blue jersey release specials, you should do that (here, here or here). Chad Reynolds gives great insight into the process of getting a jersey made.
SKC haven’t had a third kit since the 2017 season. If Sporting KC get a third kit, what do you want? The return of argyle? A Wizards themed design? Something else entirely? I’m stoked for this to be on the table for Kansas City and other clubs. Whether we get it or not, Sporting KC will get a new secondary kit with the indigo State Line (3.0?) going away.
Were SKC Interested in Lodeiro?
It sounds like Orlando City are about to sign former Seattle Sounders Designated Player, Nico Lodeiro. However, a report out of Uruguay had Sporting KC interested in the aging attacker. This could just be the start of Sporting Kansas City being linked to all Designated Player targets with the departure of Gadi Kinda and the opening of a DP slot. It is silly season, after all.
I personally wouldn’t be for signing another aging veteran, even if he’s potentially at a position of need. Sporting KC need to get younger, not add another player with a recent injury history.
Sporting KC II Sign 19-Year-Old Midfielder
Before the Holiday season, SKC II snuck in one final signing of 2023. The club announced the addition of 19-year-old Haris Alisah. The Bosnia and Herzegovina youth international is on a year-long loan with the option to buy. That falls into a similar pattern of 2023 contracts signed by the II’s, including for now first-team member Alenis Vargas.
The midfielder joins from FK Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) where he’s made 74 appearances, mostly with their youth setups (just three first team appearances). According to Sporting KC, he’s capable of playing as a defensive midfielder, central midfielder and center back. At 6’2, he’ll provide some much-needed size to SKC across both of their teams.
SKC II now have six players signed for the 2024 season, the third with head coach Benny Feilhaber in charge.
More on SKC’s Three SuperDraft Picks
Sporting KC took three players in the 2024 SuperDraft and Vice President of Player Personnel Brian Bliss gave some additional insight and quotes on each player.
1st Round (22nd Overall) – Ryan Schewe – GK – Georgetown
He’s 21 years old and listed at 6’4, but Bliss rated him as closer to 6’5 or 6’6. He specifically listed him as a target for the 3rd goalkeeper spot on the first team.
Quote: “I’m not putting pressure on the kid, but we see him as possibly like Patrick Schulte at Columbus Crew or Roman Celentano at FC Cincinnati.”
2nd Round (51st Overall) – Dyson Clapier – LW – Akron
Also, just 21. He has 14 goals and 12 assists in 57 appearances. Injuries have troubled him the last two years. Clapier is mentioned as an SKC II player. Bliss talked about him being a Generation Adidas signing, aka a likely top pick, before his injuries.
Quote: “He’s a north south guy that plays on the wing. He cuts inside nicely on his right, can shoot from distance and he’s got a lot of tools. I think he was flying under the radar because of the injury history this year.”
3rd Round (80th Overall) – Jonathan Robinson – LB – Western Michigan
The ‘old man’ of the group at 22. He has 13 assists this year at left back with three goals and 18 assists overall. It sounds like he has an outside chance of taking Bassong’s presumed backup LB role.
Quote: “Not trying to make comparisons, or put pressure on anyone, but the duo up at New England with DeJuan Jones and Brandon Bye, this kid is cut from that same cloth. If he can come in and put it together, there’s a possibility for him to get onto the first team squad with Logan Ndenbe down and out with his knee. We also have Zorhan Bassong who we picked up as a free agent, but this kid could come in and make something out of it.”
MLS Not Out of the US Open Cup… Yet
In the last version of this series of articles, it sounded like MLS was skipping the 2024 US Open Cup and placing their MLS Next PRO teams in. But the USSF said no. MLS and US Soccer put out statements that basically said nothing, probably as they negotiate in the background.
The solution seems so simple. MLS just needs to keep doing what they are doing and only take the competition as seriously as they want to. If they want to loan their whole MLS Next PRO team up, there doesn’t seem to be any rules against it.
I want to be very, very, VERY clear on this. We've read the Open Cup rules. A LOT.
US Soccer has ZERO, and I mean ZERO restrictions on the roster that MLS teams can put out in an Open Cup game. None whatsoever.
If a roster is league legal, it is Open Cup legal. Period. https://t.co/JgwUldg8oJ
— TheCup.us (@usopencup) December 20, 2023
If they want to take it seriously then they can do that as well. There are obviously some production issues, but I love the US Open Cup. If I were US Soccer, I’d change a rule that the lower division team, if they want to, can host the higher division foes. It’ll be more exciting for that team to get a home game and likely a more engaged crowd. Then if MLS teams, or other teams in the same division, play one another, then they can go back to their old hosting draws.
It would also be a bit of a punishment for MLS for their behavior favoring the Leagues Cup over the US Open Cup. I love the Leagues Cup, but to complain of schedule congestion that you created is weak.
Missed 2023 Stories
I was reading the Athletic’s best of 2023 series, and there were a few stories I had completely missed that felt worth sharing.
- Casey Phair, the US-based high schooler playing for South Korea in the Women’s World Cup
‘Abusive and belittling’ or a ‘woman being direct’? Vera Pauw at the Houston Dash
- Behind the Scenes with the MLS Cup officiating crew
I think I literally read all the other stories. I know I have a habit of telling folks to go to other sites and listen to other podcasts, but if it’s good it’s good. The Athletic gives me my money’s worth primarily in soccer coverage, but they cover so much more that I consistently read for most of the teams I root for.
- New KC Current signing, Alex Pfeiffer, got the call for the U-17 Women’s National Team.
- The expanded 2025 Club World Cup, to be held in America, has some issues. Paul Tenorio addresses them.
- Diego Rubio could be on the move to Uruguay.
- The NWSL would have six teams in the top 10 of Women’s European league attendance if they were included.
- The NWSL draft is fast approaching. Go follow Chris Henderson!
The 2024 NWSL Draft stat sheet has been updated with today's entries.
Same caveats about player sorting as the first version.
— Chris Henderson (@chris_awk) December 30, 2023
- Hugo Lloris is coming to MLS to play for LAFC for just $350k. Maxime Crepeau, a very good keeper, is now out of a job. The former Tottenham man would be the presumed starter.
- Phoenix Rising snagged a top college prospect, Pape Mar Boye, out from under MLS. It makes complete sense to me to avoid signing with an MLS team that will be restrictive with your rights and potentially not sell you when you want to leave OR start you to develop your game.
- Nigeria doesn’t make a bad kit.
PHOTONEWS : Nike unveils Super Eagles' new jerseys for AFCON 2024 pic.twitter.com/csXGpcvDFX
— Sho pen online (@SHOPEN_ONLINE) December 27, 2023
- MLS and Liga MX hanging with the Premier League on US TV audiences.
MLS Cup 2022 had 2.1 million viewers.
Liga MX apertura 2023 final had 2.2 million viewers. https://t.co/XRpKmf9FEb
— Andrew Visnovsky (@AndrewVisnovsky) December 27, 2023
- Congrats to Cece Kizer on her recent engagement.
Entering the new year engaged 💍
— KC Current (@thekccurrent) December 26, 2023
- Thanks to the Kansas City Current for hand delivering this gift last week. Nice way to end 2023.
— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) December 30, 2023