SPR Academy Signings

Swope Park Rangers signs eight players from the Sporting KC Academy

The Swope Park Rangers have signed eight Sporting Kansas City Academy players to Academy contracts for the 2018 USL season, the club announced Friday. Defenders Massimo McGuire and Kaveh Rad, midfielders Sebastian Cruz, Ryan Fessler, Sean Karani, Roman Knox and Jahon Rad and forward Wilson Harris have all inked deals to play with the Rangers in 2018.

The signings bring the Rangers’ roster total up to 23 players heading into Saturday’s home opener against Seattle Sounders FC 2 at Shawnee Mission South District Stadium.

"All of these players have done very well throughout preseason,” Rangers head coach Paulo Nagamura said. “We're going to integrate them as much as we can, they're going to have opportunities to play this year. When they do, hopefully we've done our job and we have made them a little better every day. We'll keep working with them with the ultimate goal of seeing them become future Sporting Kansas City players."

Per league rules, all eight players are still eligible to play for the Sporting KC Academy and their contracts will not affect their NCAA eligibility.

Cruz, 17, joined the Sporting KC Academy ahead of the 2016-17 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season, having spent the two year prior with De Anza Force in his native California. So far in the 2017-18 USSDA season, Cruz has made 15 appearances for the Sporting KC Under-19 side, tallying four goals from midfield. Cruz also spent time with Sporting KC during the first leg of preseason in Scottsdale, Arizona, appearing in two preseason matches and logging 60 minutes of game time for Peter Vermes’ side.

Fessler, who hails from Charlotte, North Carolina, linked up with the Sporting KC Academy ahead of the 2016-17 USSDA campaign and has since made 43 appearances for the Under-17 squad, tallying seven goals. So far this season, the 17-year-old has two goals in 15 starts for the U-17s.

Harris, 18, recently committed to play collegiate soccer at NCAA powerhouse the University of Louisville. The Los Angeles, California native is the leading scorer for the Sporting KC Academy Under-19s in the 2017-18 USSDA season, tallying 11 goals in just 10 appearances.

Wichita, Kansas native Karani has been a part of the Sporting KC Academy for the last four years, advancing from the Under-16 group to the Under-19s. In 41 overall games for the Academy, the 17-year-old has recorded 13 goals, including five in 12 appearances for the U-19s so far this season. Karani has spent the majority of preseason training with the Rangers, appearing in two tune-up games.

Knox, who has committed to play soccer at the University of North Carolina, has been with the Sporting KC Academy for eight years – joining the program in 2011. The 18-year-old Shawnee, Kansas native has been a key member for the Academy’s Under-17 and Under-19 teams over the last few seasons, making 69 combined appearances for the two sides since the start of the 2015-16 season, tallying 13 goals from midfield. So far in the 2017-18 USSDA season, Knox has seven goals in 15 games for the U-19s, while he also played in two preseason games for the Rangers.

McGuire, 17, was born in Merriam, Kansas and raised in Kansas City suburb Olathe, Kansas and has been a member of the Sporting KC Academy since 2012. He has made 39 appearances for the Academy over the last two seasons, rising from the Under-17 squad to the Under-19s. The center back made two appearances for the Rangers in preseason.

Twins Jahon and Kaveh Rad, 16, joined the Sporting KC Academy together at the start of the 2016-17 USSDA season, having previously been a part of the Capital Area RailHawks Academy in their native North Carolina. Jahon Rad has made 38 appearances for the Academy, including 15 in the 2017-18 season for the U-17s – leading the team with seven goals – and also played in one preseason game for the Rangers in February. Kaveh Rad has played in 28 games while splitting time with the U-17s and U-19s over the last two seasons.

Tickets for Saturday’s home opener against Seattle Sounders FC 2 are available via SportingKC.com/Rangers/Tickets. The Rangers are 1-0-0 on the young season with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday.

VITALS
Sebastian Cruz
Position: Midfielder
Born: 7/31/00 (17 years old)
Height: 5-6
Weight: 150 lbs.
Hometown: Fresno, Calif.
Birthplace: Fresno, Calif.
Citizenship: USA
Instagram: @sebascruz_10

VITALS
Ryan Fessler
Position: Midfielder
Born: 3/8/01 (17 years old)
Height: 5-7
Weight:135 lbs.
Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
Birthplace: Palm Beach County, Fla.
Citizenship: USA
Twitter: @ryanfessler10
Instagram: @ryan_fessler

VITALS
Wilson Harris
Position: Forward
Born: 11/28/99 (18 years old)
Height: 5-11
Weight: 165 lbs.
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Birthplace: Los Angeles, Calif.
Citizenship: USA
Twitter: @Nosliwharris
Instagram: @nosliwharris

VITALS
Sean Karani
Position: Midfielder
Born: 12/14/00 (17 years old)
Height: 5-8
Weight: 155 lbs.
Hometown: Wichita, Kan.
Birthplace: Wichita, Kan.
Citizenship: USA
Twitter: @KaraniSean
Instagram: @seankarani_

VITALS
Roman Knox
Position: Midfielder
Born: 11/25/99 (18 years old)
Height: 5-9
Weight: 155 lbs.
Hometown: Shawnee, Kan.
Birthplace: Kansas City, Mo.
Citizenship: USA
Twitter: @Knox8Roro
Instagram: @roman_knox6

VITALS
Massimo McGuire
Position: Defender
Born: 8/30/00 (17 years old)
Height: 6-0
Weight: 190 lbs.
Hometown: Olathe, Kan.
Birthplace: Merriam, Kan.
Citizenship: USA
Twitter: @MassMcGuire
Instagram: @mass.mcguire14

VITALS
Jahon Rad
Position: Midfielder
Born: 6/13/01 (16 years old)
Height: 6-0
Weight: 180 lbs.
Hometown: Durham, N.C.
Birthplace: Chapel Hill, N.C.
Citizenship: USA
Twitter: @jahonrad
Instagram: @jahonrad

VITALS
Kaveh Rad
Position: Defender
Born: 6/13/01 (16 years old)
Height: 5-11
Weight: 160 lbs.
Hometown: Durham, N.C.
Birthplace: Chapel Hill, N.C.
Citizenship: USA
Twitter: @KavehRad11
Instagram: @_kavehrad

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