Sporting Kansas City has signed 26-year-old Spanish midfielder Ilie Sánchez to a two-year contract through 2018 with an option for 2019, the club announced on Friday. Sánchez, acquired as a discovery signing, will occupy an international roster spot pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 visa.
Sánchez, a product of FC Barcelona’s famed La Masia youth academy, has eight years of professional experience in Spain and Germany. The defensive midfielder featured extensively for FC Barcelona B from 2009-2014 and most recently played for Spanish side Elche CF during the 2015-16 season.
“Ilie is a player we have been interested in and followed for a long time,” Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said. “We are very fortunate to add him to our roster as we get ready for the 2017 season.”
Born and raised in Barcelona, Sánchez jumped from La Masia to FC Barcelona B ahead of the 2009-10 campaign. He helped the club earn promotion to the Spanish Segunda Division with 22 appearances in his first professional season, including his maiden Barcelona goal against cross-city rival Espanyol B. He played 24 more matches the following year, scoring in an April 2011 victory over Villarreal II, as Barcelona B finished third in Spain’s second tier.
After missing most of 2011-12 through injury, Sánchez claimed a regular spot in Barcelona B’s midfield over the next two seasons. He played 29 league matches in 2012-13 and started 36 of 38 appearances in 2013-14, guiding Barcelona B to another third-place finish in the Segunda Division.
Sánchez appeared in 114 league games during his five-year spell at FC Barcelona B. He notably played alongside former Sporting KC midfielders Oriol Rosell (2011-12) and Jordi Quintilla (periodically from 2012-14), both of whom also progressed through La Masia.
Sánchez moved to Germany’s second division in 2014, making 26 appearances in all competitions for 1860 Munich of the 2. Bundesliga. He was then loaned back to his native Spain for the 2015-16 campaign, where he played 28 games for CF Elche in the Segunda Division. Sánchez recorded one goal in Elche colors, netting the game-winner in a 2-1 triumph versus Osasuna in November 2015.
For a full list of Sporting Kansas City's offseason roster moves, visit SportingKC.com/tracker.
Transaction: Sporting Kansas City (MLS) acquires midfielder Ilie Sánchez as a discovery signing on a two-year contract through 2018 with an option for 2019.
Born: 11/21/1990 (26 years old)
Weight: 170 lbs.
Last Club: Elche CF (Spain)
Hometown: Barcelona, Spain
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain