Top 20 Moments of the Decade | #14: The Launch of Sporting KC II

Top 20 Moments of the Decade - #14

Over the last 10 years, few professional sports franchises have experienced a more transformational journey than Sporting Kansas City. From Wizards to Sporting, from minor league baseball park to world-class soccer stadium, from MLS afterthought to perennial title contender, the 2010s ushered in a Kansas City soccer renaissance as Sporting enjoyed a meteoric rise both on and off the pitch.
Throughout this decade of success, everyone tied to the club—from players and coaches to owners and fans—made priceless memories that will last a lifetime. As the 2010s come to a close, is counting down the top 20 moments of the decade. The daily series will run from Dec. 12-31, looking back on the biggest matches, announcements and off-the-field developments that left lasting impacts on the club. The top 20 list was determined through voting among front office associates at Sporting. Click here to visit the top 20 as it unfolds.

On Oct. 22, 2015, Sporting Club announced the launch of a new professional soccer team in Kansas City with the formation of Swope Park Rangers, now named Sporting Kansas City II.

Sporting KC II is closely integrated within Sporting Club’s short-term and long-term strategic goals, first and foremost providing a pathway to the professional level for young players in the Sporting KC Academy. The USL Championship club can also serve as a proving ground for MLS players on loan from Sporting.

Functioning as a vital stepping stone between the Academy and the first team within Sporting's professional player pathway, the presence of Sporting KC II in American soccer's second division is extremely important to Manager Peter Vermes and his technical staff. As such, the team's inauguration will forever be a defining moment in Sporting's commitment to player development.

Under the guidance of head coach and former Sporting midfielder Paulo Nagamura, Sporting KC II saw 15 Academy products take the field in 2019, accounting for 40 percent of the team’s playing time and well over half of its goal scoring. Among them were top scorers Wilson Harris and Felipe Hernandez, with Hernandez notably becoming the 12th Homegrown Player in Sporting history on Aug. 30.

Sporting KC II notably reached the USL Cup Final as Western Conference champions in 2016 and 2017 before returning to the playoffs in 2018.