Sporting Kansas City has signed Hungarian international defender Botond Barath, the club announced Tuesday.
Barath, 26, has signed a two-year MLS contract through 2020 with an option for 2021. He will occupy an international slot and be added to Sporting KC’s roster on Jan. 1 pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 visa.
Born and raised in Budapest, Hungary, Barath has spent the entirety of his professional career with hometown club Budapest Honved FC, where he has made 213 first-team appearances in all competitions since 2009. The center back helped Honved to the 2016-17 Hungarian first-division title and earned his first of three caps for the Hungary Men’s National Team in October.
Barath joins Sporting KC after a banner year that included three UEFA Nations League appearances for Hungary under head coach Marco Rossi, who previously coached Barath at Honved from 2012-2017. The 6-foot-2 defender landed his senior international debut in a 3-3 draw at Estonia on Oct. 15 before starting in consecutive 2-0 wins over Estonia and Finland last month, helping Hungary to a second-place finish in Group 2 of the inaugural tournament.
The right-footed Barath began his professional career in 2009 with Honved II and has anchored Honved’s backline since 2012, when he became a regular starter for the first team. In 2012-13, Barath made his UEFA Europa League qualifying debut and scored his first of 12 career goals for the club as Honved finished third in the top-flight Nemzeti Bajnoksag.
Barath played at least 29 games in three straight seasons from 2013-2016, bagging a career-high four goals during the 2015-16 campaign. He elevated Honved to greater heights in 2016-17, when the club won its 14th first-division championship and its first since 1993. Honved secured the title in dramatic fashion, winning their final five matches with Barath starting in each game, to edge runners-up Videoton FC by three points.
Honved’s league championship propelled the side into 2017-18 UEFA Champions League qualifying, where Barath scored a goal in an aggregate loss to Israeli club Hapoel Be’er Sheva. He ended the 2017-18 season with a career-high 35 appearances in all competitions as Honved placed fourth in the Nemzeti Bajnoksag and clinched a berth in 2018-19 UEFA Europa League qualifying.
Barath has started 16 of Honved’s 18 league matches in 2018-19 and scored the lone goal in a 1-0 UEFA Europa League qualifying win over Luxembourg outfit Progres Niederkorn on July 26. Honved currently occupies fourth place in the Nemzeti Bajnoksag with just 15 goals conceded, the second-fewest in the league.
Before debuting for Hungary’s senior team in October, Barath represented the Magyars at the U-18, U-19 and U-21 levels from 2009-2013. He most notably competed in qualifying matches for the 2011 UEFA European Under-19 Championship and the 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.
With the addition of Barath, Sporting KC has 26 players under contract for 2019. Visit SportingKC.com/tracker for a full list of the club's offseason roster moves.
Transaction: Sporting Kansas City (MLS) signs defender Botond Barath to an MLS contract.
Botond Barath (BOH-tond BORE-ath)
Hometown: Budapest, Hungary
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Previous club: Budapest Honved FC (Hungary)