Sporting Kansas City announced today that the club has agreed to terms that allow Omar Bravo to return to his native Mexico to join Cruz Azul for the upcoming 2012 season. The 31-year-old returns to the Primera División, where he previously played professionally for 10 seasons. Per club and League policy, terms of the transaction will not be disclosed.
“We want to thank Omar (Bravo) for his time with Sporting Kansas City on and off the field,” Manager Peter Vermes said. “His competitive nature and savviness played a big part in our first season at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. We wish him nothing but success in his new ventures.”
The move will make available an international roster spot and Designated Player spot on the Sporting Kansas City roster.
“I want to thank Peter (Vermes), the Sporting Kansas City ownership, and MLS for a great opportunity and experience during the memorable 2011 season,” Bravo said. “For personal reasons, I am returning to the Primera División but I do not want to rule out a return to Sporting KC and MLS.
“The quality of play in MLS is high and rapidly rising so I feel well prepared for my new challenge. I look forward to following Sporting KC’s continued success and to continuing my promotion of LIVESTRONG and MLS.”
Bravo signed with Sporting Kansas City in August 2010 as a Designated Player, the second of three acquired by Sporting KC in club history, and was subsequently loaned back to Club Deportivo Guadalajara where he ranks as the club’s second all-time leading scorer and stayed for the remainder of the Apertura season. Upon arriving in Major League Soccer in 2011, the former Mexican National Team member scored twice on his debut at Chivas USA, but was forced to miss six weeks of action in April and May after undergoing sports hernia surgery.
In 27 regular season appearances, Bravo recorded nine goals and two assists and was named a 2011 MLS All-Star by MLS Commissioner Don Garber. Sporting Kansas City finished in first place in the Eastern Conference in 2011, but Bravo missed both legs of the Eastern Conference Semifinals and was limited to five minutes in the Eastern Conference Championship due to a groin injury.
Bravo, now with his fifth team in the past three years, will continue his participation as a LIVESTRONG Global Envoy to help the foundation spread its message of awareness and survivorship to the Hispanic/Latino community in the U.S. and Mexico, a cause he first committed to in June 2011.