Sporting Kansas City announced today that the club has transferred 19-year-old midfielder Gianluca Busio to Venezia FC in the Italian Serie A, pending a physical and personal terms. Busio has joined Venezia in a club-record deal after spending five seasons in Kansas City.
“Gianluca has embodied all of the core values we look for in a player,” Sporting Kansas City Manager and Sporting Director Peter Vermes said. “He has consistently put the team first while demonstrating tremendous professionalism and an unwavering commitment to improving his game and helping the club win. Gianluca is a special talent with outstanding character, and we wish him nothing but the best at Venezia.”
“This is a very proud moment for me and my family,” Busio said. “I’d like to thank everyone who has made it possible, especially all the people at Sporting KC who have helped me become the player and person I am today. Sporting will always have a special place in my heart and I’m grateful to have started my career at such an amazing club. The people, the fans, the city—everything about Kansas City was perfect and it will always feel like home. This is the next step in my career and I’m really excited to join Venezia.”
Busio has recorded eight goals and nine assists in 70 appearances for Sporting across all competitions as one of the top teenagers in American soccer. The Greensboro, North Carolina, native joined the Sporting Kansas City Academy in 2016 and signed a Homegrown Player contract with the club at age 15 in August 2017. He earned his MLS debut as a 16-year-old in July 2018 and went on to become the second youngest player in MLS history to notch an assist (Aug. 4, 2018) and score a goal (Oct. 17, 2018) in his first full season.
Busio enjoyed a breakout 2019 campaign, tallying three goals and an assist in 26 matches across all competitions, and became a regular starter in 2020 with an additional two goals and four assists as Sporting finished atop the Western Conference regular season standings. In the first round of the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs last November, Busio became the youngest player in league history to score a goal and record an assist in a postseason match as Sporting eliminated the San Jose Earthquakes at Children’s Mercy Park.
The 2021 campaign has seen Busio amass two goals, three assists and start 13 regular season matches for a Sporting side that occupies first place in the Western Conference. He bagged the opening goals in Sporting’s 1-1 draw with Orlando on April 23 and 3-2 victory over Houston on May 29, with the latter earning AT&T MLS Goal of the Week honors as Busio became the league’s second youngest player to score directly from a free kick. Through his final appearance on July 4, he led the team in minutes (1,152), chances created (20), tackles won (22), duels won (76) and recoveries (97).
Over the course of his Sporting tenure, the versatile Busio has been deployed as a holding midfielder, an attacking midfielder, a winger and a center forward. He boasts a 30-19-12 record in his 61 career regular season appearances and ended his Sporting tenure with assists in back-to-back matches against LAFC on June 26 and the LA Galaxy on July 4.
Busio was named to the United States Men’s National Team for the first time this summer, featuring in all six Concacaf Gold Cup matches and starting four as the Americans claimed their seventh tournament title. He collected his first three senior caps in the familiar confines of Children’s Mercy Park, helping the U.S. finish atop Group B with three consecutive wins from July 11-18. The midfielder then started in the quarterfinals against Jamaica and the semifinals against Qatar before coming off the bench in the final against Mexico, which resulted in a dramatic 1-0 extra-time victory on Aug. 1. Busio became the eighth U.S. MNT player to win the Gold Cup as a member of Sporting and the first Sporting KC Academy product to join the U.S. MNT for an official competition.
Busio previously represented the United States at the U-15 through U-20 levels and was named a finalist for U.S. Soccer Young Player of the Year in 2019 after taking Best XI honors with five goals at the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship and scoring at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil.
Venezia FC is an Italian club based in Venice that secured promotion to the top-flight Serie A at the conclusion of the 2020-21 season. Founded in 1907, Venezia has spent most of its history in Italy’s top two divisions and notably won the Coppa Italia in 1941. The team will kick off its 2021-22 Serie A campaign under manager Paolo Zanetti by visiting Napoli on Aug. 22.
Transaction: Sporting Kansas City (MLS) transfers midfielder Gianluca Busio to Venezia FC (Italy) pending a physical and personal terms.