Gianluca Busio may be seeing his most productive season yet for Sporting Kansas City, but the 17-year-old forward has eyes set on something bigger later this year.
The Sporting KC Academy product, who spoke with MLSsoccer.com after Tuesday’s MLS Homegrown Game win against Chivas’ U-20 squad, dreams about playing for the United States in the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil in October.
“It’s a dream to play in a World Cup, even if it’s a youth World Cup,” Busio said. “It’s in Brazil, it’s going to be awesome, but also my first priority is Sporting, so if they need me to help them, I’ll go help them, but obviously I want to play in a World Cup, it’s a goal of mine, so, yeah, I want to be there.”
Busio, who signed a Homegrown Player contract with Sporting in August 2017, has represented the U.S. at both the U-15 and U-17 level. For his club this season, he's has made 13 appearances with six starts this year.
For Busio, despite things not going the team’s way this year in league play, it's afforded him the opportunity to learn and grow.
“I think I’ve had a pretty good season,” he said. “It’s a good season for me to grow as a young player. The team hasn’t had a great season, we haven’t been winning games a lot, but every player has to go through it, every team has to go through it.
“Hopefully from now on, we can keep on moving up, [and] hopefully I’m part of that, in helping the team move forward,” he added.
Busio has also seen playing time at the USL Championship level with Swope Park Rangers this season, playing three games with that squad after appearing 10 times in 2018. He's also seen spot duty with the Sporting KC first team this season, tallying 530 minutes over 13 appearances with three goals to show for it, and could get another chance when Sporting travel to Seattle on Sunday (9 p.m. CT on FS1).
Regardless of where he’s played in the Sporting pyramid, Busio said it’s about finding a way through the ups-and-downs.
“You have to give more at all times,” Busio said. “If everything is not going your way, you have to find things to be perfect, so you can make things go your way. When you’re winning, everything seems to go right for you. But when you’re losing, it’s the total opposite.
“So, for me, as a young player, learning because down the road to further my career, I’ll have seasons when we’re not playing the best… I think it’s a good learning experience for me.”
Busio said he knows not to expect to play every game, given that veteran players may have more to prove, but it’s up to him to prove to Sporting boss Peter Vermes he can play with the big boys.
“It’s up to me to go in there and show the coach why he should play me and why I should play,” Busio said. “It’s like it’s up to me, I need to show him that I deserve to be playing. I give 110 percent and even more to prove what I can do.”
This season, however, he’s been able to show what he can do on the field. With injuries plaguing much of Sporting’s season, Busio admits it’s been difficult for the whole team to adjust, but is confident things will swing towards a positive direction.
“You can look at it and see we’ve had our own several players been out for a little bit,” he said. “It’s been difficult… I’ve been out for a little bit also. I think it’s been difficult to deal with, but I feel as a team, we’ve done well with it. We’re getting players back, so I think we just go on from here.”