Sporting KC Show Podcast: Get to know Rwandan center back Abdul Rwatubyaye

The Sporting KC Show Podcast, dropping throughout the season on Sports Radio 810 WHB, is now available on Spotify and iTunes. With Nate Bukaty and Carter Augustine hosting the weekly program, Sporting fans now have a place to go to catch up on club storylines, player achievements, guest interviews and more.

First things first, and let's take it one syllable at a time.


Mastering the pronunciation of Sporting Kansas City center back Abdul Rwatubyaye may not be a walk in the park, but it's certainly something that supporters will want to master as the 2019 season unfolds.

Rwatubyaye, a 22-year-old native of Rwanda, made his MLS and Sporting debut last Saturday in San Jose. And while the circumstances of his maiden appearance were less than ideal—he replaced injured captain Matt Besler in the 15th minute with Sporting down by two goals—the hulking defender showed his worth with a series of athletic interventions against an upstart Earthquakes side.

In the newest episode of The Sporting KC Show Podcast, which debuted Tuesday on Sports Radio 810 WHB, hosts Nate Bukaty and Carter Augustine caught up with Rwatubyaye, who shared fascinating details of his upbringing in Rwanda and his acclimation to MLS and live in the United States.

Among the notable talking points:

  • 10:10 - Several of his family members died during the Rwandan genocide in 1994, two years before he was born. The genocide took the lives of more than one million Rwandans.
  • 13:37 - Rwatubyaye discusses his family background, revealing that he never knew his father and his mother passed away when he was young. As a young child he developed a passion for soccer and worked his way into the APR FC Academy, rising from the youth to the professional ranks by age 16.
  • 16:45 - Rwatubyaye wound up in MLS after drawing attention from an international agent, who then recommended him to Sporting's technical staff.
  • 19:25 - The likes of David Villa and Zlatan Ibrahimovic drew Rwatubyaye's attention to MLS. However, he almost joined a club in Macedonia earlier this winter before moving to Kansas City.
  • 22:00 - Rwatubyaye describes Sporting as a special place, complimenting the openness of his teammates and the world-class facilities at Pinnacle.
  • 24:05 - One of Rwatubyaye's favorite things is seeing Peter Vermes laugh. One of his goals is to make sure that he keeps Vermes pleased with his performance on the field.
  • 25:28 - One of Rwatubyaye's qualities is keeping the ball, which he believes fits well into Sporting's system. He also speaks highly of Kansas City's friendly residents, although he's still getting used to American food.

Bukaty and Augustine also welcomed Sporting Kansas City Academy Director Jon Parry, who has helped build Sporting's academy into one of the best in the United States. Sporting KC received 2018 MLS Academy of the Year honors in January, winning the inaugural award for applying a holistic approach to player development at the youth level while cultivating a professional pathway from the Academy to Swope Park Rangers to the first team. Among the several keys to the Academy's success, Parry says that player recruitment has become more crucial than ever.

Listen to the full episode below.