Khlarton Belmar Kevin Oliviera Announcement

Sporting KC signs forward Kharlton Belmar and midfielder Kevin Oliveira to MLS contracts

Sporting Kansas City announced on Friday the signing of forward Kharlton Belmar and midfielder Kevin Oliveira from USL affiliate Swope Park Rangers.

Belmar has signed a contract through 2017 with options for 2018, 2019 and 2020, while Oliveira has signed a contract through 2017 with options for 2018 and 2019. As a native of Cape Verde, Oliveira will occupy an international spot on Sporting Kansas City’s roster.

“Kharlton and Kevin are two players who we believe can make the next step in the transition from the Swope Park Rangers to Sporting KC," said Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes. "Belmar can play on the wing or centrally in attack, and Oliveira can play in the center of the midfield or out wide. Both players will be important additions during the stretch run of the season.

“Signing players from within says a lot about our program. We trust the job the Swope Park Rangers are doing at the USL level, and we trust that these players will be ready to make a contribution when called upon.”

Belmar, 24, has scored 10 times for the Swope Park Rangers in 2017, setting a club record for most goals in a single regular season. He has started 17 of 24 USL appearances during his first year with the team, bagging goals in four of his last six matches since Aug. 12. Belmar also played one game on short-term loan for Sporting KC, featuring in a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo on June 28 in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16.

The Portland Timbers selected Belmar with the 34th overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft before loaning him to Portland Timbers 2. He was named USL Rookie of the Year in his first professional season, tallying 12 goals and three assists, while also playing one game on loan for the New York Cosmos at the conclusion of the 2015 USL campaign. The forward notched an additional three goals and three assists for Timbers 2 in 2016.

A native of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Belmar spent a four-year college career at Virginia Commonwealth University from 2011-2014. He amassed 18 goals and five assists in 76 career matches for the Rams, landing All-Atlantic 10 First Team accolades in 2013 and 2014. While at VCU, Belmar played for USL Premier Development League sides Mississippi Brilla in 2012 and Portland Timbers U-23s in 2014, where he recorded eight goals and one assist en route to Player of the Year honors.

Oliveira, 21, joined the Swope Park Rangers ahead of their inaugural season in 2016. He has totaled six goals and nine assists in 28 USL career appearances for the club, including three goals and a team-best five assists this year. He has also created 21 chances for a club that currently occupies fourth place in the USL’s Western Conference with a 13-7-6 record. In August 2016, Oliveira was selected at No. 2 of the United Soccer League’s 20-Under-20 list, highlighting the league’s best young talent.

Born and raised on the African island nation of Cape Verde, Oliveira moved to Portugal as a teenager to join Benfica’s academy in 2010. The midfielder rose the youth ranks to the U-19 level, where he scored five goals in 28 games throughout the 2014-15 campaign. That same season, he helped the Benfica U-19s reach the quarterfinals of the UEFA Youth League, notably defeating Liverpool in the Round of 16, as well as the final of the Durban U-19 International Football Tournament. Earlier in his Benfica youth career, Oliveira was named MVP at the 2013 Al Ain International Football Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates as well as the 2013 Verbania Tournament in Italy.

Benfica B loaned Oliveira to Portuguese Segunda Liga side SC Covilha for the 2015-16 season. He made nine appearances in all competitions before heading overseas to begin his stint with the Swope Park Rangers in February 2016.

Oliveira most recently joined the Cape Verde Men’s National Team for a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Uganda in June, where he was an unused substitute. He previously represented the Cape Verde U-16s in 2012 and trained with the senior team for the first time in March 2015 ahead of a 2-0 friendly win over Portugal.

Transaction: Sporting Kansas City (MLS) signs forward Kharlton Belmar and midfielder Kevin Oliveira to MLS contracts.

Kharlton Belmar
Position: Forward
Number: 90
Born: 12/1/92 (24 years old)
Height: 5-11
Weight: 160 lbs.
College: Virginia Commonwealth University
Hometown: Virginia Beach, Va.
Birthplace: Virginia Beach, Va.
Citizenship: USA
Twitter: @kharltonbelmar
Instagram: @kharltonbelmar

Kevin Oliveira
Position: Midfielder
Number: 88
Born: 6/8/96 (21 years old)
Height: 5-7
Weight: 145 lbs.
Hometown: Sao Vicente, Cape Verde
Birthplace: Sao Vicente, Cape Verde
Citizenship: Cape Verde
Twitter: @kprincce
Instagram: @kevinolivveira

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