Sporting Kansas City signed three players on Tuesday to MLS contracts ahead of the start of their 2011 season on March 19th. First round SuperDraft selection C.J. Sapong, second round Supplemental Draft pick Mike Jones and defender Scott Lorenz were all signed to their first MLS contracts.
“These are three very good signings for us and they will each add great depth to our roster,” Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes said. “They have all adapted very well to the MLS level already.”
Sporting Kansas City selected Sapong with the 10th overall selection in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft in January. The 22-year-old goal scorer comes to Kansas City after finishing his college career at James Madison University with 37 goals and 21 assists in four seasons from 2007-2010. He was awarded First Team All-Conference and team Offensive MVP honors all four years, a first in program history, and was the CAA Player of the Year as a senior co-captain in 2010. Sapong was a two-time NSCAA First Team All-South Atlantic Region selection and as a freshman, he was named the CAA and VaSID Rookie of the Year.
A Manassas, Virginia native, Sapong attended Forest Park High School where he was honored as the Northwest Region and Cardinal District Player of the Year, and he played club soccer for the PWSI Magnum and D.C. United Youth Academy. He also played for the Fredericksburg Gunners of the USL Premier Development League and was the leading scorer for PDL side Reading United as they reached the final four in 2010.
“It’s great that it’s finally official,” Sapong said. “It feels good to have that weight lifted and finally know you’re a part of the team. I’m looking forward to learning from the veterans and getting an even greater feel for the system, the team and the coaches. And I’m looking forward to gaining experience as a professional now.”
Kansas City’s second draft selection to sign on Tuesday, Jones was taken in the second round of the 2011 MLS Supplemental Draft. A native of St. Peters, Mo., Jones played in 60 games at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and recorded six goals and two assists as a centerback for the Cougars. As a senior in 2010, Jones helped lead SIUE to seven shutouts in 19 games and was chosen Second Team All-Missouri Valley Conference.
“I’m very, very excited to be a part of this organization,” Jones said. “I’m ready to begin to make myself better not only for myself, but also for my teammates and I’m looking forward to the new start as a professional, especially with the new stadium. I think we’ll all have a very big year.”
The final addition on Tuesday saw Lorenz sign his first MLS contract, after spending his rookie season with the NSC Minnesota Stars of USSF D2 last year. The left-footed outside back made 21 appearances in League competition, starting the club’s final 18 games in defense, including starts in both legs of the USSF D2 quarterfinals. Lorenz, 23, was recognized as the team’s Rookie of the Year.
Lorenz joined Kansas City for pre-season after a trial with the team in November, following the conclusion of his tenure in Minnesota. The Barrington, Ill. native had previously played for the NPSL’s Chicago Fire, where he was a 2009 Midwest Region All-Star, while attending the University of Wisconsin. As a four year letter winner from 2006-2009, Lorenz recorded 10 assists and 14 goals, and made 70 appearances as a mainstay in the Badgers lineup, including 58 consecutive starts beginning in his sophomore season. He was named Second Team All-Big Ten in his junior and senior seasons.
“I'm really excited to be with the club this year,” Lorenz said. “Everyone on the team has been great and I am looking forward for the club to have a successful year and to be a part of a new beginning at Sporting Kansas City.”
Sporting Kansas City is currently in Phoenix, Arizona for 2011 pre-season training ahead of the team’s season opener on March 19th at Chivas USA. The team will play 10 games on the road to the start the 2011 season prior to the grand opening of state-of-the-art Sporting Park on June 9th against the Chicago Fire.
Transaction: Sporting Kansas City (MLS) signs forward C. J. Sapong
Hometown: Manassas, Virginia
Last Club: James Madison (College)
Transaction: Sporting Kansas City (MLS) signs defender Mike Jones
Hometown: St. Peters, Mo
Last Club: SIUE (College)
Transaction: Sporting Kansas City (MLS) signs defender Scott Lorenz
Hometown: Barrington, IL
Last Club: NSC Minnesota Stars