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Sporting KC signs free-agent midfielder Memo Rodriguez

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Sporting Kansas City has signed 28-year-old free-agent midfielder Memo Rodriguez, the club announced today. Rodriguez has signed a one-year MLS contract for the 2024 season with a club option for 2025.

An eight-year veteran of MLS, Rodriguez has scored 34 goals in 227 professional club appearances since joining Houston Dynamo FC as a homegrown player in late 2014. He spent seven MLS seasons in Houston, notably winning the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, prior to representing both LA Galaxy and Austin FC in 2023.

Born in Wharton, Texas, and raised in nearby El Campo, Rodriguez entered the Houston Dynamo Academy in 2011. He was named its Academy Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013 before launching his MLS career at age 18, inking a Homegrown Player deal with the Dynamo ahead of the 2015 season. He spent most of his debut campaign on loan with the Charleston Battery in the USL Championship, where he had one goal and one assist in 17 games.

Rodriguez moved to Rio Grande Valley FC Toros, Houston’s then-USL affiliate, for a breakout 2016 season. The versatile midfielder had six goals and seven assists in leading the Toros to the USL Playoffs under head coach Wilmer Cabrera.

Rodriguez rejoined Houston in 2017, following in the footsteps of Cabrera who had been appointed as the Dynamo’s new head coach. With his MLS debut on April 8, 2017, he became the first Dynamo academy product to play at all three levels of the club's developmental pyramid. He opened his MLS scoring account in a 3-1 home win over CF Montreal on July 5, 2017, and later that year helped Houston reach the Western Conference finals for the first time since falling to Sporting in 2013.

In 2018, Rodriguez and Houston collected silverware as champions of the prestigious U.S. Open Cup. He was instrumental in the team’s tournament run, tallying three goals and one assist as the Dynamo hoisted the Open Cup for the first time. Rodriguez then enjoyed a standout 2019 campaign, hitting MLS career-highs with seven goals and five assists—including a stretch of four goals in three games at the beginning of the season—while also debuting in the Concacaf Champions League and earning Dynamo Young Player of the Year honors.

Rodriguez cemented his place as a regular contributor in Houston’s midfield from 2020-2022, appearing in 82 of the club’s 91 regular season matches during that span and eclipsing 30 MLS appearances in 2021 and 2022. He notably left his mark at the MLS is Back Tournament by scoring twice in the opening half-hour of a wild 3-3 draw against LAFC on July 13, 2020, three months before extending his contract at Houston through 2022.

The Galaxy signed Rodriguez as a free agent in January 2023. He scored his first goal for the club in a thrilling 3-2 road win over Real Salt Lake on May 31 before moving to Austin FC in a trade on Aug. 1. He played nine MLS matches for Austin and finished the year with 21 league appearances, notching one goal and two assists.

Rodriguez is Sporting’s third acquisition of the offseason, following the December signings of defender Zorhan Bassong and forward Alenis Vargas. For a full list of the club’s offseason roster moves, visit SportingKC.com/news/tracker. Sporting now has 27 players under contract for the 2024 season:

  • Goalkeepers (2): Tim Melia, John Pulskamp
  • Defenders (10): Zorhan Bassong, Jake Davis, Robert Castellanos, Andreu Fontas, Tim Leibold, Logan Ndenbe, Kayden Pierre, Chris Rindov, Dany Rosero, Robert Voloder
  • Midfielders (7): Ozzie Cisneros, Danny Flores, Felipe Hernandez, Nemanja Radoja, Memo Rodriguez, Erik Thommy, Remi Walter
  • Forwards (8): Stephen Afrifa, Willy Agada, Alan Pulido, Johnny Russell, Daniel Salloi, Khiry Shelton, Marinos Tzionis, Alenis Vargas

Sporting will play two more preseason friendlies in Miami—facing Miami FC on Feb. 10 and Atlanta United FC on Feb. 17—before opening the 2024 MLS regular season at Houston on Feb. 24. The club will then host the Philadelphia Union on March 2 in the first of 17 MLS home matches at world-class Children’s Mercy Park. Sporting Kansas City season tickets, single-match tickets and several ticket packages and promos are available now at SeatGeek.com.

Transaction: Sporting Kansas City (MLS) signs midfielder Memo Rodriguez to an MLS contract for the 2024 season with a club option for 2025.

VITALS
Memo Rodriguez
Position: Midfielder
Born: 12/27/1995 (28 years old)
Height: 5-8
Weight: 150 lbs.
Birthplace: Wharton, Texas
Hometown: El Campo, Texas
Citizenship: USA, Mexico
Previous Club: Austin FC (MLS)
Instagram: @joserodriguez
X: @40jrod