Sporting Kansas City Academy Products Daniel Salloi, Jaylin Lindsey and Wilson Harris spoke to media this week after helping the club to a 4-0 preseason win over Phoenix Rising FC last Saturday in Arizona. The talented trio was among the sizeable homegrown contingent to feature in the contest, as Manager Peter Vermes gave playing time to a dozen Academy products over the course of the afternoon.


Harris scored a hat trick inside 33 minutes, while Salloi and Lindsey played their parts by contributing to a clean sheet effort and asking questions of the Phoenix backline. Press conference remarks from all three players are below.





Forward Daniel Salloi


On Sporting’s preseason thus far…

I always say that MLS offseasons are too long, so we are always very excited to see each other when we get back. That’s why the preseason is always fun but at the same time tough. We have to work hard and I think we had a great first week, finishing off with a win. We did a little more defensive work last week and now we are starting to work on our attacking organizations. It’s always nice to build into it and then you can’t wait to start the season.


On seeing younger Academy products break into the first team…

It’s always nice to see for me personally because I came from the Academy as well. It’s always nice to have new Academy players and see them do well. All of us try to help them a lot and I try to take care of them as well. They have an easier job than I do because there are more Academy players. They can hang out with each other nowadays. I had to hang out with Roger Espinoza. It’s easier for them.


On what makes the Sporting KC Academy special…

The whole system is connected, so that always helps. Along each step on the pathway, you feel the first team (connection). I only spent one year in the Academy, but I could already see the connections and similarities between the Academy teams and the first team. That makes it special. At some point, you have to be lucky in selecting players, as well. It is a great Academy system, but having talented kids like Gianluca Busio come out of your system, that’s also lucky. We are happy to have these talented kids.


On which young Academy products have impressed him thus far…

Ozzie (Cisneros) is looking like a really talented player. He’s looking really tidy on the ball and has great movement. When you take these steps higher and higher, you feel the speed of the game getting faster and faster. He seems like he is adapting well to that. He just turned 17 so he has a long way to go, but he’s looking like a promising talent.


On what he learned during a challenging 2020 season…

It was a tough year for all of us. It made us realized what’s important in life—what you have to focus on and put more effort into. It’s one of those where you realize how lucky you are to play soccer. You can enjoy life and get paid to play as well. Many people felt it last year and still are struggling. This made us realize how much focus we can put into soccer.


On how he spent his offseason…

I went back to Hungary and everything was closed (because of the pandemic). I had to do something so I got a personal trainer there who has won Olympic medals and is a well-known personal coach. He helped keep me fit and ready for next season. I feel like I came back in really good shape.


On the keys to success for Sporting’s young players…

It’s about having confidence and knowing your place on the field. We try to push some of the things Peter is trying to push onto them. Sometimes it’s nice to hear things from players, as well, and I can be one of those players who can help them along the way a little bit. So far, they’re all adapting really well.


On his performance in preseason thus far…

I’m getting good feedback from my teammates and the coaches, as well. I’m working really hard and pushing through these weeks to get ready for the season. I think I can be helpful for the team and that’s my goal. The season is very long and sometimes a little patience helps as well, but I’m excited for everything this year.



Defender Jaylin Lindsey


On Sporting’s preseason thus far…

Right now, the team looks lively and energetic. The past few weeks, we’ve been working on things that last season we maybe weren’t so good at. Everyone’s adapting pretty well and we’re all looking sharp, so hopefully we keep going with that.


On the performances of the young Academy products…

All of the new guys and Homegrowns have done really well. All of them so far have been really good for us and I think they’re all good additions to our team. This year compared to last year, we have a really young team this year. I’m really excited for that because having a young team is very energetic and (exciting).


On what makes the Sporting KC Academy special…

I love that we’re getting new Academy kids every year that are coming through the system and doing well. It obviously shows that our academy and our coaches are doing really well and that the players are doing their part, too. It’s a really special thing for this club. We create this culture of professionalism when you come into the Academy, and when you come into the first team you’re already adapted with the culture.


On the next big step he wants to take as a professional…

The next step for me and Busio is to try and win more games and win MLS Cup. We’re past that stage of trying to get your debut and get a good run of games. It’s to the point now where we’re just trying to stay in the lineup consistently and hopefully win a lot of cups. Our goal is to win MLS Cup one day with this club.


On what he has learned in his first few seasons as a pro…

I learned a lot of things last year and the year before that, as well. Sometimes players have bad days and sometimes they have good days. You learn from the bad days and you try to improve. In this league, and especially when you’re getting a lot of games, every detail matters. You have to be focused 24-7 and always be on the same page as everyone else.


On his goals for the 2021 season…

My main goal is to be a big impact on this team. We need a lot of guys on this team to step up, and sometimes there will be injuries or red cards where people need to step in. My main goal is that whenever I’m on the field, I’m looking to make an impact no matter what—whether that’s on the stat sheet or coming up big defensively in certain moments. My goal is to step up to be one of the bigger-time players on the team but to also have a big impact when I’m playing and help the team win.


On how he helps foster the development of other young Academy products…

I’ve already been talking to some of the younger guys who have come up—guys like Ozzie Cisneros and Kayden Pierre. When I first came to the first team, it was kind of me and Busio by ourselves. With the experience me and Busio have had over the last couple of years, it’s always good when young guys come up. I want them to adapt pretty quickly, so my main goal is to show them how to adapt to the speed of play and the style of play. Coming from the Academy to the first team, sometimes the playing style might be a little different. I’m always telling them each and every day about what to expect and I’m really happy with them so far.



Forward Wilson Harris


On the keys to success as a first-year MLS player…

The biggest thing is just to play like you’re one of the best on the field. The main thing is to try and win at all cost, and I think some of the young guys are stepping up now and realizing they have a more important role on the team. That’s what I’m doing in going about my business—trying to help the team win by scoring goals and also creating. All over the pitch, and even on defense, this week was really good.


On what he has learned from fellow striker and teammate Alan Pulido…

Playing under Alan, he’s a great striker and I’m learning a lot from him. I feel like I’ve learned so much to get to the point I’m at now. Last season I would train with the first team and then play games in the USL. Getting the goals I did last season, I’m trying to carry that momentum forward into MLS.


On scoring eight goals during the 2020 USL Championship season…

To do what I did last season was huge for me. It was tough to travel every game by bus. That was kind of crazy and ridiculous, but we pulled out some big results and I got a bunch of goals last season. That just helped me move into right now, getting goals in the preseason with the first team.


On how he will fit into Sporting’s first team…

I’ve just got to continue doing what I’m doing—putting myself in the right spots, keep performing and keep helping the team win. Peter is all about winning, so if I help the team win—whether it’s scoring goals or defending in the final minute to save a result—I think that will keep me in contention.