The Swope Park Rangers announced Christian Duke on Friday as the first player signing for the team’s inaugural USL season in 2016. An Overland Park, Kansas, native and Sporting KC Academy product, Duke began his professional career with Sporting KC and has logged more than 50 appearances in the USL over the past three seasons.
“I'm very excited for the opportunity to come back to this first-class organization to continue my development,” Duke said. “Being here for two years before has given me tremendous experience and I know what's expected from the coaching staff and club as a whole. Soccer has grown so much in this city and to add another professional team here will only grow the game, I'm really happy to be a part of that and get playing again in front of the best fans.”
Duke, 24, joined the Sporting KC Academy in 2007 and played high school soccer at Shawnee Mission South. He then attended the University of San Diego and recorded six assists in 60 games during a four-year career that ended with All-West Coast Conference Second Team honors and a run to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals as a senior.
Sporting Kansas City selected Duke in the first round of the 2013 MLS Supplemental Draft and he spent his first professional season on loan in the USL with Orlando City SC. He was named the club’s Rookie of the Year, contributing one goal and one assist in 22 games, and helped the Lions win the 2013 USL Championship.
For the past two years, Duke has been an integral member of Sporting Kansas City’s USL affiliate OKC Energy FC. He has ranked second on the squad in assists both seasons, logging seven total assists in 32 games played, and helped Oklahoma City finish tied atop the Western Conference standings in 2015 en route to their first postseason berth.
Born: 6/5/1991 (24 years old)
Last Club: OKC Energy FC (USL)
Hometown: Overland Park, Kansas
Birthplace: Overland Park, Kansas