Sporting Kansas City selected two college seniors on Wednesday in MLS SuperDraft 2023 presented by adidas, picking forward Stephen Afrifa from Florida International University with the eighth overall pick in the first round and defender Chris Rindov with the 37th overall pick in the second round.
Afrifa and Rindov are set to join Sporting Kansas City for preseason training in Arizona, which will begin Jan. 9 and culminate prior to the club’s 2023 MLS regular season opener at the Portland Timbers on Feb. 25.
Afrifa, a 21-year-old striker who can also play on the wing, is Sporting’s highest SuperDraft selection since 2010 when the club took Teal Bunbury at No. 4 overall. The Canadian forward enjoyed a standout four-year career at Florida International, where he amassed 23 goals and 11 assists in 63 appearances from 2019-2022.
Afrifa will begin his professional journey on the heels of a phenomenal senior campaign that yielded a team-high 10 goals, four assists and United Soccer Coaches Second Team All-American honors. He guided the Panthers to the 2022 American Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles and was named the AAC Championship Most Outstanding Offensive Player, scoring the lone goal in a 1-0 semifinal win over Memphis on Nov. 10.
On Nov. 20, Florida International reached the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003 by edging New Hampshire 10-9 on penalty kicks following a 2-2 draw, with Afrifa notching an assist in the wild second-round battle. Afrifa ended 2022 as a MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist and a member of the United Soccer Coaches All-East Region Team.
A native of Toronto, Afrifa played club soccer for Woodbridge SC Strikers in League1 Ontario before starting his college career at Florida International. He made an instant impact as a freshman, tallying three goals and three assists, and added two goals and an assist during his COVID-shortened sophomore year in the spring of 2021.
As a junior, Afrifa helped Florida International make its first of two consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances by scoring a team-best eight goals and recording three assists. He was a member of the United Soccer Coaches All-Southeast Region First Team and an All-Conference USA First Team honoree, notably scoring in FIU’s 4-1 upset win over top-ranked Marshall in the 2021 regular season finale.
Afrifa competed for USL League Two side One Knoxville SC earlier this year, scoring 10 goals and leading the first-year club to a first-place finish in the South Central Division and a run to the national quarterfinals.
Rindov, a 21-year-old center back, was a defensive mainstay for perennial powerhouse Maryland, starting in each of the program’s 38 matches over the last two seasons and finishing his college career with four goals and five assists in 58 appearances. Rising from freshman walk-on to team captain as a senior, he had a banner year this fall as an All-Big Ten First Team selection and an MLS College Showcase participant.
Rindov played every minute in all 20 matches for the Terrapins this fall, pushing Maryland to the Big Ten regular season title with an unbeaten 4-0-4 conference record. The 6-foot-2 defender scored goals in early-season wins over Virginia and Maryland and helped his team post five shutouts, including a 1-0 victory over Michigan State in which Rindov also tallied an assist. A two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, Rindov guided the Terps to their 22nd consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and a first-round triumph over Fairleigh Dickinson on Nov. 17.
Rindov, who has citizenship in the United States and Bulgaria, logged nine appearances for Maryland as a freshman in 2019 and started nine of 10 matches the following year. His breakout junior campaign was highlighted by eight shutouts, with Rindov playing in all but four minutes throughout the year. He also had two goals and two assists as the Terrapins finished with a 12-4-2 record.
Prior to joining the Terps, Rindov won four consecutive Maryland state championships at Rockville High School. He also played for youth club OBGC, where he competed at two national championships and won an Eastern Regional title in 2018.
- Stephen Afrifa (uh-FREE-fuh)
- Position: Forward
- Born: 2/19/2001 (21 years old)
- Height: 5-10
- Weight: 150 lbs.
- College: Florida International University
- Hometown: Toronto, Canada
- Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
- Citizenship: Canada
- Chris Rindov (rin-DOVE)
- Position: Defender
- Born: 10/8/2001 (21 years old)
- Height: 6-2
- Weight: 190 lbs.
- College: University of Maryland
- Hometown: Rockville, Maryland
- Birthplace: Silver Spring, Maryland
- Citizenship: USA, Bulgaria