As momentum builds toward Major League Soccer’s 26th season in 2021, Sporting Kansas City players and coaches will look to lay the foundations for another successful campaign when preseason training unfolds this month in Arizona.
With newcomers joining familiar faces for the 2021 preseason presented by Children’s Mercy, SportingKC.com has launched the “Sporting Preseason Spotlight” web series to acquaint supporters with the goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and forwards who will help Sporting Kansas City compete for silverware in 2021. To read up on every player and visit the series archive as it expands, head to SportingKC.com/Spotlight.
When Tyler Freeman put pen to paper on his first MLS contract in October 2018, the 15-year-old became the second-youngest player in Sporting Kansas City history. Fast-forward to present and Freeman, at age 18, already has two full seasons of professional experience under his belt.
The Shawnee, Kansas, native is an undeniable talent, something that became increasingly evident during the latter half of the 2020 USL Championship season with Sporting KC II. With a full 2021 campaign on the horizon, Freeman will look to continue his upward trajectory as a promising piece of Sporting’s puzzle.
The fact that Freeman became a Homegrown Player before his 16th birthday says everything about his upside. A member of the Sporting KC Academy since age 11, Freeman represented Sporting at the U-12 through U-19 levels and represented the U.S. youth national team before kickstarting his pro career. He and teammate Gianluca Busio were notably part of the U.S. squad that finished second at the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship in Bradenton, Florida.
A versatile youngster who can play multiple positions in attack and midfield, Freeman has yet to earn his first-team debut under Manager Peter Vermes. He has, however, scored three goals in 26 USL Championship appearances with Sporting KC II head coach Paulo Nagamura.
Freeman started in half of Sporting KC II’s 16 matches during a shortened 2020 campaign and saved his best performances for the end of the year. His stunning free kick at Indy Eleven on Sept. 9 opened his scoring account, roughly three weeks before he tallied in a narrow loss to title contenders Louisville City FC. Freeman played as both a winger and an attacking midfielder, showing increased aggressiveness and assertiveness as a second-year pro.
After making only nine competitive appearances during an abbreviated and disjointed 2020, Freeman figures to log far more playing time this year. Getting minutes will be a top priority for a player with such high potential, and whether that time comes in MLS or the USL Championship remains to be seen. Freeman will have every opportunity to make a strong impression during Sporting’s month-long preseason stint in Arizona.
All six of Freeman’s shot attempts during the 2020 USL Championship season were on target. Four were saved and two resulted in goals.
He Said It
“Our decision to sign Tyler demonstrates the investment we have made in our professional pathway, and it’s great to see a young attacking player take a big step forward at our club. We look forward to helping him reach his potential, and we believe that he has an incredible environment, culture and support system around him that will propel his future in the direction of being a successful player at Sporting KC”
Sporting Manager Peter Vermes on Oct. 2, 2018, when Freeman signed as a Homegrown Player.
Did You Know?
In 2015, Freeman scored a brilliant solo goal for the Sporting KC U-12s that went viral and earned coverage from ESPN.