Another hometown face comes to Sporting KC
Christian Duke is happy to be home.
“It’s a dream come true,” Duke said the day before his contract with Sporting Kansas City was announced. “I’ve always wanted to be a part of Sporting Club, and now I’ve got my opportunity. It’s a crazy feeling.”
Duke, Sporting Kansas City’s newest midfielder, grew up in Overland Park, Kan., but spent the past four years playing soccer at the University of San Diego.
While he may not like the fact he had to leave the sunny weather of California for over a foot of snow in Kansas City, Duke said having the opportunity to live closer to his family is something special.
“I’m a momma’s boy,” Duke smiled, “So my family loves that now they’re able to drive 20 minutes to see me rather than getting on a plane. I love it too.”
Duke became the seventh player on Sporting Kansas City’s roster from the Kansas City area joining defenders Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic, Kevin Ellis and Kyle Miller, midfielder Michael Thomas and goalkeeper Jon Kempin.
“I think it speaks highly of the talent around Kansas City and how the youth teams are producing such good talent,” Duke said about playing professionally along side so many Kansas City natives.
Duke is a familiar face to the club, as he played for the Sporting KC Academy during his high school years before heading to the University of San Diego.
After playing four years of competitive collegiate soccer, starting 56 of his 60 games played at USD and helping carry the Toreros to its first NCAA Quarterfinal since 1991, Duke said there is still more for him to learn, and he is looking forward to playing at the professional level.
“I think there’s so much knowledge professional players have rather than college players,” Duke said. “The speed of play is a lot quicker, and technical side is really key.”
Luckily for Duke, the close-knit Sporting Kansas City roster has helped make him feel at home on the field as well as off of it.
“It comes from the top level and the organization,” Duke said about the strong chemistry surrounding the Club. “The vibe around this organization is great, I mean, all the guys, we all hang out together and it’s cool.
“I’m a new guy coming in and I’m nervous, but the older guys are great about it.”