New faces vying for contracts as Sporting KC opens 2014 pre-season as reigning champs
Sporting Kansas City officially opened the team's 2014 pre-season on Friday with player entrance physicals conducted at the Swope Soccer Village before an early evening departure for Tucson, Ariz. Among the new faces are off-season acquisitions Andy Gruenebaum and Sal Zizzo, as well as the following draft picks and guest trialists:
- Don Anding: The 22-year-old forward was drafted 26th overall by Philadelphia in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft out of Northeastern University, where he recorded 25 goals and 12 assists for the Huskies. He tallied an assist in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in June and made his MLS debut in July, but spent most of the season on loan to the Harrisburg City Islanders with one goal and three assists in USL PRO.
- Reinaldo Brenes: A two-time All-MAC selection at the University of Akron, the 22-year-old forward was drafted 76th overall by Sporting KC in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. After winning a national championship in his freshman season, Brenes led the Zips in scoring as a junior and senior to cap his four-year college career with 20 goals and nine assists. He is a former member of the under-17 and under-18 Costa Rican national teams, and played for the Portland Timbers U-23's.
- Adnan Gabeljic: Sporting Kansas City's second round 2014 MLS SuperDraft selection at No. 38 overall, Gabeljic was born in Croatia and lived in Germany before immigrating to Saint Louis at age seven. Now 21, he scored nine goals and added seven assists in 70 appearances during his four-year collegiate career at Saint Louis University. The 6'3 winger was a top performer in the physical fitness tests at the 2014 MLS Player Combine with the fastest 30-meter sprint time (3.92 seconds) and a Top 10 finish in the vertical jump (18.6").
- Dante Marini: Undrafted in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, the 5'3 midfielder led Northeastern University with six goals and five assists as a senior to finish his four-year college career with 14 goals and 17 assists. Marini, 21, also starred for Reading United in the Premier Development League in 2012 and 2013.
- Alex Martinez: After a strong showing at the 2014 MLS Player Combine, Martinez was selected 57th overall in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft out of North Carolina State University. He scored 13 goals and added 18 assists in two seasons and was an All-ACC selection for the Wolfpack. The 22-year-old midfielder scored twice in the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with the Carolina Dynamo to go along with two goals and five assists in the Premier Development League.
- Pablo Punyed: Sporting Kansas City's 32nd overall pick in the second round of the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft out of St. John's University, Punyed was a co-BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year as a senior after scoring four goals and contributing three assists for the Red Storm. Punyed tallied 10 goals and six assists in 84 games played at St. John’s and also represented the United States Under-20 men's national team at the 2008 Copa Chivas. The 23-year-old midfielder most recently played for Fylkir in the Icelandic Premier League.
- Peter Schmetz: The left-footed central defender was taken 41st overall by Sporting KC in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. Schmetz, 23, garnered All-Big West First Team honors at the University of California Santa Barbara after appearing in 47 games over three seasons for the Gauchos. The 6'6 German native played for the Ventura County Fusion during the 2013 Premier Development League season.
- Jacole Turner: After a year in Europe, the former Sporting KC Academy goalkeeper (pictured above) re-joins the club for the 2014 pre-season. He signed with Atlético Madrid C in Spain's Tercera Division last January after a breakout 2012 campaign in which he featured for the U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team. The 19-year-old Lee's Summit North alum was a Class 3 Goalkeeper of the Year and First Team All-State selection in high school.
For all the latest during Sporting Kansas City's pre-season, visit SportingKC.com/preseason and follow Sporting KC on all your favorite social media channels.