Sporting Kansas City midfielder Felipe Hernandez has been named a finalist for the USL Championship’s 2019 Young Player of the Year award, the league announced today. The annual USL Championship Awards were voted on by club management and a league-wide media panel that included representation from every USL market.

Hernandez, 21, is one of three Young Player of the Year finalists alongside Real Monarchs forward Douglas Martinez and San Antonio FC attacking midfielder Cristian Parano. The USL Championship will announce the award recipient next Wednesday, Nov. 20.

Hernandez enjoyed a breakout season for the Rangers in 2019, ranking second on the team in goals (eight) and assists (five) while leading the side with 45 chances created. His influential contributions at the USL Championship level were rewarded in August when Sporting signed the Colombian-born midfielder as the club’s 12th Homegrown Player.

Named the Swope Park Rangers Most Valuable Player in late September, Hernandez started 28 of 30 USL Championship appearances and set career-highs in goals and assists under SPR head coach Paulo Nagamura. He made his Sporting KC debut on Sept. 7 at the Portland Timbers, just eight days after inking his first MLS contract.

Raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Hernandez joined the Sporting KC Academy as a 16-year-old in 2014. He is the first Sporting player to progress along the club’s full player pathway, rising from an Academy Affiliate club (Sporting Nashville Heroes) to the Sporting KC Academy to the Swope Park Rangers before signing with the senior team.

Hernandez is the second SPR player to be selected a USL Championship finalist for Young Player of the Year, following in the footsteps of 2018 finalist and fellow Sporting KC Academy product Wan Kuzain. Hernandez and Kuzain are two of seven Homegrown Players on Sporting’s current MLS roster alongside defender Jaylin Lindsey, midfielders Gianluca Busio and Cameron Duke, and forwards Tyler Freeman and Daniel Salloi.