The Swope Park Rangers have signed Sporting Kansas City Academy midfielder Camilo Benitez, the club announced today. Benitez becomes the seventh player developed in the Sporting KC Academy to sign a full USL contract with the Rangers. Benitez will officially be added to the roster pending league and federation approval.
“The Academy has been doing a great job and we have a lot of talent coming through,” Rangers head coach Paulo Nagamura said. “Camilo is a very good attacking player that we can use this upcoming season. He’s been doing well for us in preseason and I think he’ll be a good offensive piece for us.”
“It’s been a challenge to reach this level because it’s a process,” Benitez said. “You have to make a lot of sacrifices, you have to leave a lot of stuff that you love. I left my family a long time ago to come here and make it pro – that was my goal – and now that it’s happened, I’m very happy.”
Benitez was born and raised in Ibarra, Ecuador before moving to Charlotte, North Carolina at the age of 13. He relocated to Kansas City ahead of the 2014-15 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Season and advanced through the age groups before becoming a consistent contributor for the Under-19 squad.
The 18-year-old, who has spent significant time training with the Rangers over the last year, has made 11 appearances for the Sporting KC U-19s this season, adding three goals. In the 2016-17 campaign, Benitez played in 27 games and tallied five times for the U-18s.
Benitez joins midfielders Felipe Hernandez, Kuzain and Will Little on the current Rangers’ roster as players who were signed directly out of the Sporting KC Academy. In addition, fellow Academy products Gianluca Busio and Jaylin Lindsey each signed Homegrown deals with Sporting KC last fall.
Born: 8/16/1999 (18 years old)
Weight: 150 lbs.
Hometown: Ibarra, Ecuador
Birthplace: Ibarra, Ecuador