Sporting Kansas City has acquired 19-year-old Brazilian defender Igor Julião on loan from Fluminense FC, the club announced on Friday. A member of Brazil’s Under-20 Men’s National Team, Julião has been added to Sporting Kansas City’s roster and will occupy an international roster spot.
"Igor is a player that once we saw him at the Disney Pro Soccer Classic, we really liked him. We scouted him for about six days and watched four of his games,” Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said. “We feel that he is a great, young talent and someone that will fit into our team with the way we like to play, particularly with how important the outside back position is to our team. We feel he will be a good addition to our group and at the same time, forge a relationship with Fluminense FC."
“This is a new challenge for me,” Julião said. “I hope to learn a lot from this club and do everything I can to help them win another championship."
Julião first joined Fluminense FC’s academy at age eight in February 2003 and capped off his youth career by leading the club’s Under-20 side to back-to-back state championships in 2012 and 2013. He traveled to the United States for the 2013 Dallas Cup as Fluminense FC U19’s won Group C and reached the Super Group semifinals before falling to eventual champions Fulham FC in penalty kicks at the Cotton Bowl one year ago.
Most recently, Julião started all four games for the Fluminense FC U23’s at the 2014 Disney Pro Soccer Classic in Florida earlier this year, highlighted by a strong showing on the tournament’s final day with a goal and an assist in a 4-2 win over Toronto FC.
After nine years of development in their youth system, Julião made his debut in Campeonato Brasileiro Série A as a 17-year-old in August 2012. He made three appearances in Brazil’s top division during his first professional season as Fluminense FC won their fourth league title in the club’s 111-year history.
In August 2013, Julião broke into the starting lineup for Fluminense FC en route to 20 appearances for the senior squad last season. He started 14 league matches and made appearances in each of the team’s final 10 games of the Brasileirão. In his Fluminense FC youth and professional career, Julião played in a total of 379 games with 76 goals.
Julião was selected to Brazil’s Under-20 Men’s National Team for the 2013 South American Youth Championship in Argentina and made three appearances at the competition (pictured above in a 1-0 victory over Venezuela).
Julião is the third Brazilian native on Sporting Kansas City’s roster, along with midfielders Benny Feilhaber and Paulo Nagamura. Sporting Kansas City’s loan agreement with Fluminense FC for Julião extends through the end of 2014.
Igor Julião (ZHOO-lee-ow)
Hometown: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil