Sporting Kansas City announced earlier this month the signing of 19-year-old center back Kaveh Rad as a Homegrown Player. Rad, whose twin brother Jahon plays for Sporting KC II, has become the 17th Homegrown Player to emerge from the Sporting Kansas City Academy. Sporting's roster now has 11 first team players developed in the club's academy, most in Major League Soccer. In the newest edition of Just Because presented by Hallmark, we get to know Rad a bit better off the field.
As a North Carolina native, what is your favorite part about living in Kansas City?
I’d say the people, just because they’re all so nice. In parts of my home state in North Carolina, they’re not as nice as people here.
What is your favorite place to eat in the Kansas City area? What do you order?
I know it’s a chain but Chipotle. I get a burrito with white rice, cheese, chicken and queso.
Other than soccer, which sport would you want to go pro in?
Basketball. I just feel like they get a lot of recognition so that would be pretty cool.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My dad. He’s taught me everything. My mom passed away when I was eight years old so he really took all of us and made sure that we grew up living in a way where it didn’t feel like a mom was missing just because of the amount of effort he put in. I’m grateful for that.
What athlete did you look up to growing up?
Since I play center back, I’d have to say Sergio Ramos or Leonardo Bonucci.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Probably signing with the first team! That or graduating from high school. I remember when I graduated from high school, I was walking across the stage and my whole family was screaming my name and I just couldn’t stop smiling.
Who are your closest friends at the club and what do you guys do when you hang out?
Jaylin (Lindsey), Gianluca (Busio), Jake (Davis) and Felipe (Hernandez). We all just play FIFA and go out to eat somewhere; we just have a good time.
How are you and your twin brother Jahon alike? How are you different?
I’d say we’re alike in the way that we walk. But I’d say on the inside he’s a lot more “diva.” I’d say I like to have more fun than him. He’s just a serious guy.
How do people generally tell you two apart?
I remember when I was little, my mom used to paint one of my fingernails. She used to paint it a bright color because she couldn’t tell us apart. Then we got to an age when people started to be able to tell us apart.
What’s the best and worst part of being a twin?
The best part is that whenever you’re feeling down, he’s always there to talk. He’s like your best friend. The worst part is sometimes you do want to be alone, and he’s there, so I’m stuck with him!
Who is your favorite musical artist or what is your favorite type of music to listen to?
I definitely like rap and my favorite artist is Drake.
If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I’m not sure. Just choose one of Drake’s songs that comes out. They’re always good.
What is your favorite movie?
Holes. I liked that movie and my favorite character was Zero.
Are you hooked on any TV shows?
I’ve watched every season of Stranger Things. I always binge watch the new season on the first day when they come out.
What other professional sports teams do you support?
The LA Chargers. They used to be in San Diego and my Aunt used to live there and she took me to a game when I was little. But they’re in the same conference as the Kansas City Chiefs so that doesn’t really work around here! I also like Manchester United because my dad and my older brother both support them. My favorite team though is Real Madrid. They’re my number one.
Which professional soccer player do you enjoy watching the most?
Cristiano Ronaldo. I just enjoy watching him – especially Champions League nights. He’s different.
What is your favorite place to travel to for a vacation?
North Carolina – I like going back home! Just the nostalgia of being back, if you leave somewhere, you get homesick, and I’m not homesick anymore because this is my home, but just going back to that environment where you grew up is really nice.
Where is the coolest place you have played outside of Kansas City?
I played in England against Everton and their academy. It was at their training facility and we played their academy when I went on a trip with my academy in North Carolina.
If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
LeBron James. He has such a big impact on culture and people in today’s world, plus he’s my favorite basketball player.
Which teammate of yours is the best to follow on social media and why?
The most active is Jaylin (Lindsey), but I’d say Daniel (Salloi). Me and him just always clown around. I took his phone and took a whole bunch of selfies in the locker room and he just posted that for when I signed.
If you could be any animal in the world, what would it be and why?
A lion. I don’t know why but I’ve just always liked lions!
Do you have any gameday rituals or superstitions?
Yeah, I have a weird one. I have to eat exactly three-and-a-half hours before a game. If I’m at an away game and we eat four hours before, I’d wait 30 minutes. Or if we’re eating three hours ahead, I’ll eat 30 minutes before that. It’s weird. I always eat brown rice with chicken and some veggies every time.
In a fight to the death, everyone for himself, which player on Sporting comes out on top?
(No hesitation) Johnny Russell.
What’s your biggest soccer dream? What’s the biggest thing you want to achieve in your career?
I want to play in the UEFA Champions League at some point. I know there’s a lot of stages in a career but I think that at the pinnacle of my career, I’d want to play in Europe in the Champions League. That’s the ultimate goal.