Sporting Kansas City Under-18 Academy midfielder David Leichty has signed a professional contract to play for OKC Energy FC of the USL PRO. The 18-year-old Overland Park, Kan. native will join Energy FC, led by Head Coach Jimmy Nielsen, for their inaugural season in 2014.
“It will be great to play for Jimmy Nielsen, a guy that I have looked up to from the first team, and be a part of the professional environment,” Leichty said. “I’m excited to learn from him and all that he has to offer from the coaching side of the game.”
“I know David always wanted to play professionally. He has always wanted to play at that level,” Sporting Kansas City Academy Director of Coaching Jon Parry said. “I think it speaks volumes for our Academy. It’s very exciting to have another player being signed as a pro.”
“He is choosing a different direction than a lot of kids his age and choosing the professional way like I did in my youngers days,” Nielsen said. “I am very excited for him. He has a huge passion for the game and I am very happy to have him on the team. I am confident that he has a bright soccer future.”
Leichty joined the Sporting KC Academy during the 2009-10 season and was most recently the recipient of the 2013 Bob Gansler Award, annually bestowed upon the Academy’s most outstanding player. He has played in all 18 games for the Sporting KC Under-18 Academy team during the 2013-14 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season. Additionally, he appeared in three MLS Reserve League matches, debuting with Sporting KC’s senior team in 2012, and was also selected to the club’s pre-season roster in 2013.
A graduate of Shawnee Mission South High School, Leichty scored 25 goals and added 17 assists in three high school seasons and was a Class 6A First Team All-State selection. TopDrawerSoccer.com ranked Leichty the No. 91 player nationally in the class of 2013 and the No. 3 player in the Heartland Region.
OKC Energy FC, one of 14 teams in USL PRO and an official affiliate of Sporting Kansas City, will begin their 28-game season on April 5. Leichty joins fellow Sporting KC Academy alum Kyle Miller on the Energy FC roster, which also features former Sporting Kansas City players Cyprian Hedrick and Michael Thomas.