"This Week in Sporting," presented by The Smile Generation, is a weekly series that highlights the biggest storylines and news updates from Sporting Kansas City. To visit the series archive, click here.
1. Welcome to the Club
Sporting Kansas City has signed 25-year-old French midfielder Remi Walter, the club announced last week. Walter has signed a three-year MLS contract through 2023 with an option for 2024 and will occupy an international slot on Sporting’s roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 visa.
Walter has amassed nearly 200 professional appearances since 2012, spanning seven full seasons in his native France and one season in Turkey. The left-footed central midfielder, who has represented France at the U-17 through U-21 levels, boasts experience in several prestigious European competitions, including the UEFA Europa League, UEFA Champions League qualifying, French Ligue 1—where he has scored three goals in 74 matches—and the Turkish Super Lig.
2. Get to Know Remi Walter
Sporting Kansas City made a huge offseason splash last week, signing 25-year-old French midfielder Remi Walter to a three-year MLS contract with an option for 2024. The former France youth international is sure to bolster Sporting’s midfield ahead of a highly anticipated 2021 campaign that should—if everything goes to plan—unfold a bit more smoothly than its predecessor.
Walter has proven pedigree with experience in some of Europe’s top club competitions, but he may not be a household name in MLS circles just yet. With that in mind, here are 10 things to know about the Sporting Kansas City newcomer.
3. Still in Talks
Sporting Kansas City selected one of its own players in the 2020 MLS Re-Entry Process last week, taking midfielder Felipe Gutierrez in Stage 2 of the event. By selecting Gutierrez in the Re-Entry Process, Sporting holds the Right of First Refusal for the player in MLS. For more information about the Re-Entry Process, click here.
Gutierrez and Sporting remain in discussions ahead of the 2021 MLS campaign. The Chilean international tallied 19 goals and nine assists for the club from 2018 to 2019 before missing all of 2020 with a knee injury.
4. Draft Approaches
Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Process marked the final roster mechanism event of the year, as Sporting will now look ahead to the 2021 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas on Thursday, Jan. 21. The SuperDraft will consist of three rounds and begin at 1 p.m. CT. Sporting currently holds the 50th overall pick in the second round and the 77th overall pick in the third round. As a club that received a 2021 fourth-round pick through a previous trade, Sporting will also have a compensatory pick at the conclusion of the third round at No. 82 overall.
The first round of the 2021 MLS SuperDraft will stream live on MLSsoccer.com, the MLS App, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. In addition, fans can follow every pick as it happens with MLSsoccer.com's MLS SuperDraft tracker.
For a full list of Sporting's offseason roster moves, visit SportingKC.com/tracker.
5. High Ratings
Television ratings for Sporting Kansas City’s 2020 regional television package on FOX Sports Kansas City increased 92% over 2019, according to Nielsen Media Research data. Sporting earned its best regular-season ratings performance in the four years of the Sporting KC-FSKC partnership. FSKC and FSKC Plus televised 17 matches in 2020. The home opener on March 7, a 4-0 win over Houston, posted the highest rating of the regular season and best Sporting KC rating ever on FSKC.
6. Cups Canceled
FIFA has canceled the 2021 U-17 and U-20 World Cups due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federation announced in a Thursday release. The U-17 World Cup was originally slated to take place in Peru and the U-20 World Cup in Indonesia, with FIFA also announcing that both countries will now be hosting the respective tournaments in 2023.