Sporting Kansas City announced on Wednesday the signing of 19-year-old forward Daniel Salloi as the fourth Homegrown Player in club history. Per club and MLS policy, terms of the agreements will not be disclosed.
“Our goal as an organization is to continue to develop players in our Academy that can contribute to our senior team,” Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said. “Daniel is a young player with a lot of potential. I look forward to seeing his progression with our club.”
“It means a lot to me to sign my first professional contract with Sporting Kansas City,” Salloi said. “It has always been my dream to play professional soccer and I want to thank Peter and the entire organization for this opportunity. I hope to contribute to the club however I can and one day play in front of the great fans at Children’s Mercy Park. I also want to thank Ujpest FC for all they have done for me. They have tremendous fans and I wish them nothing but the best in the future.”
A native of Budapest, Hungary, Salloi moved to the United States in August 2014 as an AFS exchange student and attended Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park, Kansas. He joined the Sporting Kansas City Academy U-18s for the 2014-15 season and scored a team-high 21 goals in 28 appearances, including three hat-tricks in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
Salloi and the Sporting KC U-18s — coached by former Hungarian international Istvan Urbanyi — finished 2014-15 with a 14-8-5 regular season mark, the club’s best record in the USSDA. The U-18s were 11-1-2 when Salloi scored and went on a 12-game unbeaten run from January to May to secure a berth in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs. Salloi had 15 goals during the second half of the season and tallied a hat-trick in his final U-18 appearance.
Prior to his arrival in Kansas City, Salloi played for Hungarian side Ujpest FC in Budapest at the U-16, U-17 and U-21 levels. He earned the club’s U-16 and U-17 academy player of the year honors and has trained with both the Hungary U-18 and U-21 Men’s National Teams.
After a successful spell with the Sporting KC U-18s, Salloi returned to Hungary last July to sign an amateur contract for Ujpest FC’s senior team, a 20-time champion in Hungary’s first division. He made his professional debut in the top-tier OTP Bank Liga on July 18, the day before his 19th birthday.
Salloi scored his first professional goal in just his second appearance, netting the game-winner in a 3-1 victory over Vasas Budapest on July 25. He scored four goals in a 14-1 win over Vertessomloi KSK in the Hungarian Cup First Round on Aug. 12 and added two goals and two assists in the Round of 16 as Ujpest FC defeated Zalaegerszeg 5-0 on Oct. 28. The forward ended his stay at Ujpest FC with seven goals and four assists in 16 matches across all competitions.
The 19-year-old striker is the fourth generation of his family to play professional soccer. His father, Istvan Salloi, scored more than 130 goals during a 16-year career playing in Hungary and Israel. He also appeared 13 times for the Hungary Men’s National Team from 1992-1995.
Salloi becomes the fourth Homegrown Player on Sporting Kansas City’s roster, alongside Jon Kempin (2010), Kevin Ellis (2011) and Erik Palmer-Brown (2013). As a Homegrown signing, Salloi will be protected in any necessary expansion drafts and will not count against the club’s salary budget.
Major League Soccer established the Homegrown Player initiative in 2007 to allow teams to promote youth academy players to professional contracts. These players must meet Homegrown Player criteria, including participation in the club’s youth system and residence in the team’s Homegrown territory.
Daniel Salloi (shallow-EE)
Hometown: Budapest, Hungary
Birthplace: Siofok, Hungary
Acquired: Signed as Homegrown Player on Jan. 13, 2016
Previous Club: Ujpest FC (Hungary), Sporting KC Academy