Sporting Kansas City announced today that the club has re-signed veteran midfielder Roger Espinoza to a one-year contract for the 2022 MLS season.
Espinoza has played a leading role for Sporting over the course of 12 MLS seasons, helping the club to three Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championships and nine appearances in the MLS Cup Playoffs. In two separate spells at Sporting from 2008-2012 and 2015 to present, Espinoza ranks third in club history in appearances (335), starts (295) and minutes played (26,143) across all competitions. He has also scored 12 goals and sits fifth on Sporting’s all-time chart with 43 assists.
Since the dawn of the Opta era in 2010, Espinoza ranks third in MLS in both duels won (1,510) and tackles won (466) with a single club. The 2012 MLS All-Star is also Sporting’s all-time leader with 21 appearances in the U.S. Open Cup, a prestigious domestic tournament he helped the team win in 2012, 2015 and 2017.
The 2021 campaign saw Espinoza tie an MLS career-high with 32 regular season appearances for a Sporting side that finished within three points of first place in the Western Conference and reached the MLS Cup Playoffs for the 10th time in 11 seasons. He made 24 starts over the course of the year and led the team in duels won (153) and tackles won (50) while creating 24 scoring chances. He also tallied assists in pivotal wins over Minnesota United FC on Sept. 15 and Seattle Sounders FC on Oct. 23, with the latter setting up Johnny Russell for Sporting’s Goal of the Year presented by Parisi Coffee.
Espinoza began his professional career in Kansas City as a 2008 MLS SuperDraft selection. After helping the club finish atop the conference standings in 2011 and 2012—earning MLS All-Star recognition and an Open Cup title in the latter season—he moved abroad for a two-year stint with English side Wigan Athletic. Espinoza bagged three goals in 57 appearances for Wigan while gaining experience in the English Premier League, English Championship and UEFA Europa League. He also guided the Latics to a famous 1-0 upset win over European powerhouse Manchester City in the 2013 FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.
Following a successful spell at Wigan, Espinoza returned to Sporting ahead of the 2015 campaign and added to his collection of trophies with another Open Cup title that fall. His second stint in Kansas City was further highlighted by a third Open Cup championship in 2017 and first-place Western Conference finishes in 2018 and 2020.
On the international stage, Espinoza has played 52 times for the Honduras Men’s National Team since debuting in 2009. He notably represented Honduras at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, making five starts across the two tournaments. Espinoza also starred for Los Catrachos at the 2012 Summer Olympics in England—leading Honduras to the quarterfinals of the competition and scoring against Brazil—and previously featured at the 2009 and 2011 editions of the Concacaf Gold Cup.
Prior to turning professional, Espinoza spent two years at Yavapai College in Arizona, where he was a Junior College National Player of the Year finalist in 2006. He transferred to Ohio State University for his junior season in 2007 and propelled the Buckeyes to the College Cup, scoring in the national championship game against champions Wake Forest.
Off the field, Espinoza has been an active member of the Kansas City community who has participated in numerous events tied to The Victory Project, the club’s philanthropic foundation dedicated to helping children affected by cancer and all of life’s challenges. He became a volunteer partner with humanitarian nonprofit Unbound in 2015, conducting soccer clinics in underserved parts of Honduras, and in 2020 rallied support for Hurricane Eta relief by raising awareness and money alongside fellow Hondurans who play in MLS.
Last fall, Espinoza married fellow soccer player Lo’eau LaBonta, who plays as a midfielder for the Kansas City Current in the National Women’s Soccer League.
For a full list of Sporting’s offseason roster moves, visit SportingKC.com/news/tracker. Sporting will train in Arizona from Jan. 17 to Feb. 19 for the team's 2022 preseason, presented by Children's Mercy. Manager Peter Vermes’ side will then kick off the MLS season on Feb. 27, visiting Atlanta United FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, before hosting Houston Dynamo FC in a highly anticipated Children’s Mercy Park home opener on March 5.
Transaction: Sporting Kansas City (MLS) re-signs midfielder Roger Espinoza to a one-year contract for the 2022 MLS season.
Weight: 170 lbs.
Hometown: Aurora, Colorado
Birthplace: Puerto Cortes, Honduras
Citizenship: Honduras, USA
College: Ohio State, Yavapai College