Sporting Kansas City signed Hungarian international defender Botond Barath on Dec. 18, 2018. He has signed a two-year MLS contract through 2020 with an option for 2021.
Born and raised in Budapest, Hungary, Barath has previously spent the entirety of his professional career with hometown club Budapest Honved FC, where he has made 213 first-team appearances in all competitions since 2009. The center back helped Honved to the 2016-17 Hungarian first-division title and earned his first of three caps for the Hungary Men’s National Team in October 2018.
2019: MLS regular season: Has started 11 of 12 appearances and contributed to two shutouts (967 minutes played). Made his Sporting debut in the second half of a 2-1 loss at LAFC on March 3. Concacaf Champions League: Started two of three appearances and contributed to one shutout (214 minutes played). Made his Champions League debut in a 2-1 quarterfinal first-leg defeat at Independiente on March 6 before starting in a 3-0 second-leg win over the Panamanian side on March 14, assisting Krisztian Nemeth's game-winning goal in the 74th minute. Open Cup: Did not feature. MLS Cup Playoffs: Has not featured.
The right-footed Barath began his professional career in 2009 with Honved II and began anchoring Honved’s backline since 2012, when he became a regular starter for the first team. In 2012-13, Barath made his UEFA Europa League qualifying debut and scored his first of 12 career goals for the club as Honved finished third in the top-flight Nemzeti Bajnoksag.
Barath played at least 29 games in three straight seasons from 2013-2016, bagging a career-high four goals during the 2015-16 campaign. He elevated Honved to greater heights in 2016-17, when the club won its 14th first-division championship and its first since 1993. Honved secured the title in dramatic fashion, winning their final five matches with Barath starting in each game, to edge runners-up Videoton FC by three points.
Honved’s league championship propelled the side into 2017-18 UEFA Champions League qualifying, where Barath scored a goal in an aggregate loss to Israeli club Hapoel Be’er Sheva. He ended the 2017-18 season with a career-high 35 appearances in all competitions as Honved placed fourth in the Nemzeti Bajnoksag and clinched a berth in 2018-19 UEFA Europa League qualifying.
Barath started 16 of Honved’s 18 league matches in 2018-19 and scored the lone goal in a 1-0 UEFA Europa League qualifying win over Luxembourg outfit Progres Niederkorn on July 26.
INTERNATIONAL (6 caps, 1 assist)
Barath joined Sporting KC after a banner 2018 that included three UEFA Nations League appearances for Hungary under head coach Marco Rossi, who previously coached Barath at Honved from 2012-2017. The 6-foot-2 defender landed his senior international debut in a 3-3 draw at Estonia on Oct. 15 before starting in consecutive 2-0 wins over Estonia and Finland last month, helping Hungary to a second-place finish in Group 2 of the inaugural tournament. 2019: Started and played 90 minutes in a 2-1 home win over 2018 FIFA World Cup finalist Croatia on March 24 in UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying. Started and played 90 minutes in a pair of UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying wins in June, a 3-1 road defeat of Azerbaijan (where he recorded an assist) and a 1-0 home triumph over Wales.
Youth: Before debuting for Hungary’s senior team in October 2018, Barath represented the Magyars at the U-18, U-19 and U-21 levels from 2009-2013. He most notably competed in qualifying matches for the 2011 UEFA European Under-19 Championship and the 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.