Sporting Kansas City defender Erik Palmer-Brown was named to the MLS Homegrown Team on Monday to face the Club America U-20’s during the 2015 Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game. Palmer-Brown started and played the full 90 minutes in last year’s inaugural event in a scoreless draw against the Portland Timbers U-23’s.
“I’m really excited to play in the Chipotle Homegrown Game for the second year,” Palmer-Brown said. “There are many great Homegrown Players around MLS and I look forward to taking the field with them against the Club America U-20’s.”
Palmer-Brown, 18, has appeared in eight matches for Sporting Kansas City across all competition -- including the team’s 2015 season opener and a 1-1 draw at Supporters’ Shield leaders D.C. United in May – since signing as a Homegrown Player in August 2013. He made his MLS debut in 2014 at age 17 and remains the youngest player to appear in a Major League Soccer match in club history.
The Lee’s Summit, Missouri native attended the prestigious U.S. Soccer Residency Program in Bradenton, Florida for the Spring 2013 semester and was named one of five finalists for U.S. Soccer’s 2013 Young Male Athlete of the Year. Last month, Palmer-Brown represented the United States at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
Palmer-Brown is one of three Sporting KC Academy products on Sporting Kansas City’s roster along with goalkeeper Jon Kempin and defender Kevin Ellis. The Sporting KC Academy formed in 2007 and features five fully-funded teams from the under-12 through under-18 age levels that train at Swope Soccer Village and compete at the highest levels.
Led by head coach Landon Donovan, the MLS Homegrown Team will play the Club America U-20’s at 8 p.m. CT on July 28 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado on the eve of the 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star Game. The event will showcase the top academy products from MLS clubs among the nearly 150 Homegrown Players who have signed professional contracts since the initiative began in 2008.
“The development of Major League Soccer’s youth academy system continues to be one of the league’s highest priorities,” said Todd Durbin, Executive Vice President of Player Relations and Competition. “Now in its second year, the Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game is a great platform to showcase many outstanding homegrown talents our clubs have produced, and who are not participating in the All-Star Game. We are excited to welcome the Club América U-20 team as this year’s opponent, which should make for a highly entertaining and competitive match.”
In anticipation of the 2015 Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game, MLSsoccer,com will kick off a special “Road to the Homegrown Game” video series. Each of the six episodes will chronicle the lives of select Homegrown Players as they work through the early years of their professional careers.