The Swope Park Rangers have signed Dane Kelly, Johnny Grant, Kris Tyrpak and Zac Lubin, the club announced on Wednesday. The four newest additions join Christian Duke under contract for the team’s inaugural USL season and provide an initial foundation of players whom all featured in the USL earlier this year.
Kelly, a 24-year-old forward, is the USL’s all-time leading scorer with 42 regular-season goals dating back to his 2011 debut with the Charleston Battery, including a career-best 11 goals in 2015. After winning a USL championship in 2012, he was named to the All-League First Team a year ago and was a member of the All-League Second Team in 2015.
Kelly is also the only player to score in each of the past five editions of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, matching the longest streak during the tournament’s modern era (1995-2015). A Jamaica native, Kelly began his career with Tivoli Gardens FC in the Jamaican Premier League before joining Charleston.
“This is a step forward for me in terms of what I’ve done in the USL,” Kelly said. “I’m excited to come to KC and I want to pursue an opportunity to make it to the first team with Sporting Kansas City.”
"Dane has proven himself in the USL and wants to prove that he's ready for the next step,” Swope Park Rangers head coach Marc Dos Santos said. “He's an explosive forward that is always in movement and looking to create space for himself. I believe there is a lot of room for him to improve and become even more dangerous."
Grant, 22, is a member of the Canada Men’s National Team and was selected to the roster for his country’s first four matches of 2015. He then represented Canada a total of six times at the Pan American Games in July and at the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship, including a pair of appearances at Sporting Park in October.
At the club level, Grant earned Ontario League 1 Top XI honors with Sigma FC in 2014. This season, the 6’2 defender garnered USL experience by making 10 appearances for FC Montreal. Grant will be added to the Swope Park Rangers roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 visa.
“I am really excited about the opportunity to come to Kansas City,” Grant said. “I can’t wait for the season to start and begin a new era for the Swope Park Rangers.”
"We've followed Jonathan with the youth Canadian teams and believe he has the qualities of a modern full back,” Dos Santos said. “Grant is offensive minded, has excellent physical qualities and a great margin of progression. We believe he will grow even more."
Tyrpak, 23, was named MVP of the USL Premier Development League in 2013 with nine goals and one assist in 14 games as a forward for the Austin Aztex during the club’s championship-winning season. He was then selected by Chivas USA in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft out of Houston Baptist University, where he compiled 18 goals and 20 assists in a four-year collegiate career that included First Team All-Conference honors in both the Western Athletic Conference (2010) and Atlantic Soccer Conference (2013).
As a rookie, Tyrpak made nine appearances for Chivas USA, tallying one goal and one assist in 2014. He then returned to the Austin Aztex for their first USL season in 2015, leading his hometown team with nine goals – six of which were game-winners – and two assists. Tyrpak concluded his 2015 campaign with the San Antonio Scorpions, scoring in his first two appearances and earning NASL’s Play of the Week with a stunning goal on his debut against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
“The whole Kansas City operation is extremely professional,” Tyrpak said. “I have heard great things about them throughout the years and I was super excited to get the call to come to the new USL team. Hopefully we can add another championship in Kansas City.”
"Kris has had fantastic moments with the Austin Aztex and San Antonio Scorpions,” Dos Santos said. “He's a fast winger that likes to take defenders on and unbalance the opponent’s defensive structure. We are very happy that he's joining us for 2016."
Lubin, 26, joins the Swope Park Rangers after leading the USL with 4.87 saves per game in 2015 as captain for the Tulsa Roughnecks’ inaugural season. The 6’5 goalkeeper has previously played for the Tacoma Tide, Kitsap Pumas and Seattle Sounders FC U-23’s in the USL PDL in addition to spending the 2014 season in Sweden with IFK Lulea.
Prior to his professional career, Lubin starred at Saint Martin’s University (NCAA Division II) from 2007-2010 with a program-record 288 saves in 67 games. In 2009, Lubin was a first team all-conference selection as the Saints won the school’s first team title in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
“I’m very excited to have signed with the Swope Park Rangers and to play for Marc Dos Santos. He has an energy about him that makes you want to play for him,” Lubin said. “And I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to work within the Sporting Kansas City organization. It’s one of those clubs you hear about that is absolute class.”
"We knew about Zac before he attended our open tryouts,” Dos Santos said. “He's a goalkeeper with an excellent presence and work ethic. He has the type of mentality and experience that we are looking for in our first season. We are happy that he's joining the club."
Born: 2/9/91 (24 years old)
Last Club: Charleston Battery (USL)
Hometown: Saint Catherine Parish, Jamaica
Birthplace: Saint Catherine Parish, Jamaica
Born: 10/15/1993 (22 years old)
Last Club: FC Montreal (USL)
Hometown: Toronto, Canada
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
Kris Tyrpak (TEER-pak)
Born: 3/19/92 (23 years old)
College: Houston Baptist University
Last Club: San Antonio Scorpions (NASL)
Hometown: Dripping Springs, Texas
Birthplace: Austin, Texas
Zac Lubin (LOO-bin)
Born: 8/19/89 (26 years old)
College: Saint Martin’s University
Last Club: Tulsa Roughnecks FC (USL)
Hometown: Bozeman, MT
Birthplace: Steamboat Springs, CO