As Sporting Kansas City’s 2022 MLS regular season home opener looms, SportingKC.com is rolling out a 15-day countdown until MLS is back at Children’s Mercy Park. Sporting begins its 2022 campaign with a visit to Mercedes Benz Stadium on Feb. 27 for a matchup with Atlanta United FC at 2 p.m CT. Sporting will then host longtime rival Houston Dynamo FC at 2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, March 5 at Children's Mercy Park.
The 2022 Preseason Countdown will provide fans with key storylines to keep an eye on as we approach Sporting’s home opener. From player highlights and coaching spotlights to new features at Children’s Mercy Park, the 2022 Preseason Countdown will highlight the many reasons to be excited for what’s ahead.
Yesterday, we looked at the fresh faces of Sporting KC. Today, we will look at Sporting’s younger talent. Everyone one of the seven players highlighted below is a Sporting KC homegrown talent under the age of 24.
John Pulskamp #1 – Goalkeeper
John Pulskamp made his MLS debut in Sporting’s 2021 season opener in a 2-1 victory over the New York Red Bulls where he became the youngest keeper in league history to win a regular season road match. He posted a 3-2-1 record in six MLS starts and added 12 appearances for SKC II in 2021. Pulskamp was also selected for a training camp with the U.S. Men’s National Team in December of 2021 in his home state of California. Pulskamp proved last year that Sporting is in safe hands with him between the poles.
Jake Davis #17 – Midfielder
Jake Davis is a Sporting KC Academy product who made his MLS debut last season. The 20-year-old midfielder has been a mainstay in the SKC II starting XI the last three seasons, tallying two goals and nine assists in 37 starts, leading SKC II in assists last season. He earned USL Championship Team of the Week honors following a brace at Louisville City FC. Davis will look to be more involved in 2022 after making his MLS debut last season.
Felipe Hernandez #21 – Midfielder
Another homegrown, Sporting KC Academy midfielder, Felipe Hernandez signed with the first team after an incredible 2019 season with the Swope Park Rangers. Hernandez scored eight goals and added five assists in 30 appearances for SPR in 2019 before making his MLS debut on Sept. 9, 2019, against the Portland Timbers. Last season he opened his MLS scoring account in a 3-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids. Hernandez has made 24 appearances for Sporting and will look to contribute even more in 2022.
Kayden Pierre #24 – Defender
A U.S. Men’s Youth International player, Kayden Pierre signed an academy contract with SKC II in 2020 before signing with the first team in 2021. Although he has not started for the first team in an MLS match, he appeared in a Leagues Cup match against Leon. He has made 31 appearances (one goal, two assists) for SKC II and made three appearances for the U.S. Men’s U-20’s. Pierre has shown a lot of promise with SKC II.
Ozzie Cisneros #25 – Forward
Much like Pierre, Ozzie Cisneros signed with the first team in 2021, has not made his MLS debut but did feature in the 2021 Leagues Cup against Leon. At just 17-years-old, the forward has played 21 matches for SKC II and put in three goals. He became the youngest player on the first team roster when he signed in January of 2021 and has kept that title to this day. He will look to make his debut in 2022 and continue to refine his talents with SKC II.
Cam Duke #28 – Midfielder
After signing with Sporting in 2019, Cam Duke made his first MLS appearance in 2020. In 2021 he hit another major milestone, scoring his first MLS goal in a 3-1 win at the Seattle Sounders on July 5. He added another goal in Leagues Cup and another in a 4-0 dismantling of Minnesota United. Duke made 16 appearances and six starts in 2021, playing a total of 657 minutes. Look for Duke to continue to increase his role with the first team as he continues to find his footing in MLS.
Kaveh Rad #48 – Defender
Kaveh Rad signed with the first team in April 2021 after three seasons with Sporting KC II. Rad made five appearances and two starts for the first team last year. In 2021 he earned 10 starts for SKC II, scoring one goal against FC Tulsa, and earning USL Championship Team of the Week honors once. In the previous two seasons, he was a focal point of the SKC II backline making 46 appearances. The 20-year-old has already made his first team debut and will look to increase his presence in 2022.