As momentum builds toward Major League Soccer’s 26th season in 2021, Sporting Kansas City players and coaches will look to lay the foundations for another successful campaign when preseason training unfolds this month in Arizona.
With newcomers joining familiar faces for the 2021 preseason presented by Children’s Mercy, SportingKC.com has launched the “Sporting Preseason Spotlight” web series to acquaint supporters with the goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and forwards who will help Sporting Kansas City compete for silverware in 2021. To read up on every player and visit the series archive as it expands, head to SportingKC.com/Spotlight.
Midfield reinforcement has come in the form of 25-year-old Frenchman Remi Walter, who arrives in Kansas City as arguably the club's biggest acquisition of the offseason. Deployed primarily as a No. 8 in the central midfield, Walter can also play as the deep-lying No. 6. The left-footed player predicates his game on precise passing, positional awareness and a tireless work rate, which should translate well into Manager Peter Vermes' up-tempo 4-3-3 system.
Walter has amassed 74 appearances in Ligue 1, the first division of French soccer and one of the top five domestic leagues in the world. Most of those came with Nice from 2016-2019, as the coastal Mediterranean club consistently competed near the top of the table during Walter’s stint. He also spent half of the 2017-18 campaign with fellow Ligue 1 side Troyes on loan. As an important piece of Nice’s midfield, Walter competed in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 editions of the UEFA Europa League, making seven appearances in the competition. He also featured in two UEFA Champions League qualifiers in 2017-18.
On the international stage, Walter was a French youth international who participated in a number of high-profile tournaments, namely the 2012 UEFA U-17 Championship in Slovenia and qualifying for the 2017 UEFA U-21 Championship in Poland. As a youth, he played alongside eventual 2018 FIFA World Cup winners Thomas Lemar, Benjamin Pavard and Corentin Tolisso as well as current Manchester City duo Aymeric Laporte and Benjamin Mendy and Manchester United forward Anthony Martial.
Walter ended his tenure at Nice halfway through the 2019-20 season, transferring to Turkish first division outfit Yeni Malatyaspor in January of 2020. He played nine Super Lig matches for the club between March and July before leaving the club last summer.
Walter has proven pedigree with experience in some of Europe’s top club competitions. Although he may not be a household name in MLS circles just yet, expect the Frenchman to play a pivotal role for Sporting in 2021.
According to FBref.com, Walter has completed 86% of his passes since the start of the 2017-18 season. He has also yet to receive a red card during a professional career that dates back to 2013.
He Said It
"I like to play the 6 or the 8 in midfield. I like to go (box to box) and I think I’m a player who organizes the game. I am a technical player, not too physical, but I can give my French touch and my technical touch.
"The team is very good and all of the players are at a good level. I think we can be a very good team and win trophies because there are a lot of good players. I hope for this because I wanted to sign here to win trophies, win games and up my level."
Did You Know?
Walter was periodically entrusted with penalty kick duties at Nice as well as his first professional club Nancy. His most notable penalty came in a momentous 1-0 win over French title contenders Lyon in February 2019.