Jake Davis rises from Homegrown prospect to one of the top young defenders in MLS

Davis vs. Portland - May 28, 2023

Emerging out of the club’s Pro Player Pathway, Sporting Kansas City defender Jake Davis has enjoyed a breakout season in 2023. The 21-year-old midfielder-turned-right back has shone as part of Sporting’s backline since bedding into the team at the start of May and has been one of the best young players in all of MLS this season.

Davis ranks in the top 10 of a host of statistical categories among players under the age of 22 this season, while in some categories he’s simply been one of the best regardless of age limitations.

Among Under-22 players, Davis ranks…

  • 2nd in tackles (64)
  • 2nd in tackles won (39)
  • 3rd in defensive duels (207)
  • 8th in interceptions (106)
  • 8th in crosses (50)
  • 10th in passes into final third (148)
  • 10th in progressive passes (193)
  • 8th in ball progression (progresses ball every 3.46 minutes)

Since late April, Davis is fifth in tackles (62) and fourth in tackles won (38) across all of MLS, only trailing highly touted defensive players such as Ryan Hollingshead and Diego Palacios of LAFC as well as Cincinnati’s Obinna Nwobodo.

According to performance rating website, Davis’ average rating of 6.71 ranks sixth highest of all under-22 players in MLS this season (min. 750 minutes played).

Davis has started 22 consecutive matches for Sporting in the MLS regular season and Leagues Cup, recording a pair of assists in the process – including the primary assist on Alan Pulido’s game-winner in the intense 2-1 victory over St. Louis at Children’s Mercy Park on Sept. 2. With one regular-season game left to play, Davis has played the sixth most minutes in a regular season before the age of 22 in club history and could move as high as fourth on Decision Day.

In 2017, the Rochester, Michigan native bet on himself and left home to move to Kansas City as a 15-year-old to chase his dreams of becoming a professional soccer player by joining the Sporting KC Academy, living with a host family in Overland Park through the club’s residency program.

After advancing through the ranks at the Academy, Davis began earning professional experience with SKC II in 2019 before signing with the first team two years later. Now, 35 appearances in all competitions later, he’s starting to make a name for himself not just in Kansas City, but across all Major League Soccer.